Stocks to be range bound

Published October 19, 2020, 6:00 AM

by James A. Loyola

The local stock market is seen range trade this week although positive corporate nine-month results have the potential to spur the index to breach the 6,000 level.

“The market may be more inclined to trade within range for now, until after US elections are finalized by November. This, plus indicators that COVID-19 will remain a major concern by at least the first half of 2021 partly explain the 26-day consecutive net foreign selling to total $2 billion year-to-date,” said online brokerage

It also noted that, “Further pressures include the timely passage of the 2021 general appropriations bill, and while Congress was able to settle the leadership difference, market participants are often wary of change-of-hands in politics.”

Philstocks Financial Senior Analyst Japhet Tantiangco said though that, first nine months of third quarter earnings reports by listed companies may be a major catalyst to boost the market above 6,000.

“Based on the movement of the PSEi and investors sentiment, bulls are somehow in control of the market since the PSEi has been supported at the 5,700 level,” he noted.

He added that, the recommendation to ease of quarantine restrictions from GCQ to MGCQ may also boost sentiment.

On the downside though, Tantiangco said the recently conclusion of the Converge IPO may “affect or suck liquidity from the market. Individual market news could also affect stocks since the general market sentiment is uncertain.”

Thus, said that, “for those invested in equities, the safest bet would be holding on to safe rafters—such as dividend stocks and defensive conglomerates.”

“With 2022 as the ‘sweet spot’ for fundamentals—where COVID-19 is expected to no longer be a driving force in the equation plus being an election year—for the meantime, the interim should he spent acknowledging dividend and value plays,” it added.

With the lack of market moving news the whole of last week, analaysts have few leads for recommending stock buys.

However, Abacus Securities Corporation is strengthening its BUY recommendation for LT Group which disclosed that its beverage unit Asia Brewery has agreed to upgrade its joint venture with Heineken from purely distribution of Heineken and Tiger brands to include brewing these premium products.

“This is positive for LTG because producing the products realizes higher margins than distribution alone. We thus expect a more meaningful contribution of this segment to the Group beginning next year,” said Abacus.