Philippines at 13-month high; banks, property lead
BANGKOK – The Philippine benchmark index hit a 13-month high on Friday, marking its best week since April, amid strong buying in shares of banks and property firms, while Indonesia notched its first weekly gain in a month ahead of the July 9 presidential election.
Shares of Bank of the Philippine Islands were up 1.3 percent, among the top performers, with other banks climbing on the week amid optimism around a planned law allowing foreign firms to take full control of Philippine lenders.
Property shares were also among the top percentage gainers, with Megaworld Corp. hitting a near one-month high as strong foreign demand for luxury condominiums in Manila bolstered the sector's outlook.
The Philippine composite index closed up 0.9 percent at a 13-month high of 6,962.68. It ended up 1.8 percent on the week, a second straight weekly gain.
In Jakarta, foreign investors led the buying into selected large-caps, sending shares of Telkom Indonesia nearly 1 percent higher. Jakarta's composite index rose 0.4 percent, on track for a 1.4 percent rise on the week.
Stocks in Singapore and Malaysia were range-bound as Asian stock markets edged higher after upbeat U.S. jobs data, which showed the lowest unemployment rate in six years and underscored the strength of the economic recovery.
The Thai SET index hovered above the psychological 1,500 level, led higher by banks, while Vietnam's key index climbed to a near three-month high of 589.35, with shares of Vinamilk rallying after its stock dividend plan.