Stocks climbed for the second straight day on declining COVID-19 cases in the country, lifting prospects for further reopening of the economy.The Philippine Stock Exchange Index advanced 71.06 points, or 1 percent, to 7,080.62 on a value turnover of P8.8 billion. Losers, however, beat gainers, 116 to 108, with 39 issues unchanged.JG Summit Holdings Inc. of the Gokongwei Group rose 5.5 percent to P72.25, while Dito CME Holdings Corp., the third major telecommunications company, increased 3.9 percent to P6.69.Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-biggest lender in terms of assets, climbed 2.9 percent to P49.20, while conglomerate Ayala Corp. added 2.3 percent to P849.The rest of Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday after the previous strong run-up, with profit-taking playing against vaccine prospects and renewed hopes for a fresh US stimulus.Britain became the first Western country to approve a vaccine as it gave the go-ahead to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for rollout from “next week,” while several other pharma giants have submitted theirs in the US and Europe, fanning optimism that the world economy can finally get back on course in 2021.And in a sign that the outlook is improving despite the coronavirus still surging, the OECD said it expects this year’s contraction to be slightly less than previously forecast.On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each surged to fresh records as traders returned to buying after taking a breather Monday following a blockbuster November.Asia struggled to build on Tuesday’s strong gains. Tokyo, Sydney and Taipei rose, while Seoul and Jakarta put on more than one percent but Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, Singapore, Bangkok and Wellington all fell.
Still, Kathryn Rooney Vera at Bulltick LLC told Bloomberg TV: “Markets are closing out a phenomenally volatile year in a euphoric manner. Markets are in a full bull scenario.”Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the first vaccine Wednesday and it would be “made available across the UK from next week.”The drug, which was shown to be 95 percent effective in trials, will first be given to care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable.While vaccine hopes—and the expected economic recovery they fuel—continue to be the main driver for equities, investors were given an extra boost Tuesday when a bipartisan group of lawmakers offered a $908-billion compromise to pass a much-needed US rescue package.The move comes amid fears that millions of Americans will lose crucial financial support over the festive period.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put to his Republican party a proposal offering $500 billion in relief, including $332 billion for small businesses, saying “waiting until next year is not an answer.”President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his economic team and called for immediate relief, while his Treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen warned that “inaction will produce a self-reinforcing downturn causing yet more devastation.”“So many people are struggling to put food on the table and pay bills and rent. It’s an American tragedy,” she said. With AFP