Philippine shares hit their highest in nearly three weeks on Monday, helped by property stocks Ayala Land Inc and SM Prime Holdings, while most other South-east Asian markets were little changed in thin trade with the United States, Britain and China closed for holidays. Investors were on the sidelines as they wait for the China PMI data due later in the week, said Victor Felix, an equity analyst with Manila-based AB Capital Securities.
Factory activity in China is expected to have grown at its slowest pace in eight months, a Reuters poll showed, as previous stimulus fades and policymakers focus on tackling rising debt – a sign the cooldown in manufacturing will persist through 2017.
Asian stocks excluding Japan were down about 0.2 percent after rising earlier in the day following gains on the Wall Street, which hovered around record highs on Friday. Meanwhile, North Korea fired at least one short-range ballistic missile earlier in the day that landed in the sea off its east coast, the latest in a fast-paced series of missile tests defying the world pressure and threats of more sanctions.
Philippine shares rose to their highest since May 10 with Ayala Land climbing to its highest in more than nine months and SM Prime Holdings hitting a record high. “Selective buying of property stocks is lifting the index,” said Jeffrey Lucero, an equity research analyst with RCBC Securities. “Last week, we were able to grab foreign buying of up to 1.3 billion pesos, and hopefully we will still see some signs of foreign buying into this week.”
However, he warned that the market debut of Eagle Cement Corp on Monday could drain liquidity from the PSEI index. Eagle Cement, the country’s fourth largest cement producer, had announced plans in March to raise up to 9.2 billion pesos ($184.67 million) via an initial share sale in May. Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore were slightly down, while Vietnam was up 0.5 percent, hovering near a nine-year high, on the back of gains in energy stocks.