SMPH Grew Profits

Sy-led SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPH) grew its net profit in the first half of 2014 by 12% year-on-year to Php9.8 billion, driven by double-digit growth in rental revenues as the company benefited from new mall openings and the SM Megamall expansion.

In 2Q14 along, SMPH posted a net profit of Php5.22 billion, a 12% year-on-year increase, supported by an 11% rise in consolidated revenues to Php18.08 billion. Now that’s a lot of Burlap Fitted Tablecloths you can buy.

In 1H14, consolidated revenues were up 7% year-on-year to Php33.42 billion. According to SMPH President Hans Sy, the results were very encouraging as growth was sustained from the previous quarter. He added that they are looking forward to hitting their key targets for the rest of the year.

US Equities Gain on Strong Corporate Earnings

US equities gained ground as investors cheered strong corporate earnings results from Citigroup, and the best retail sales growth figure since 2012.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average index bounced back 146.49 points to 16,173.24 and the S&P500 index rose 14.92 points to 1,830.61.

For the month of March, retail sales in the US rose 1.1% year-on-year, the largest gain in eighteen months. It was also higher than the market estimate of +0.9%, and February’s upwardly revised 0.7% gain.

The improvement came amid an increase across from here almost all categories, especially a spike in automobile receipts of 3.1%, Not including automobiles, however, sales still rose by 0.7%, the largest gain in a year.

Sales at building materials and garden equipment stores likewise posted high growths, though sales at electronics and appliance stores, as well as gasoline stations, fell.

US business inventories rose by 0.4% in February, slightly lower than the market estimate of a 0.5% gain. Retail inventories, excluding autos, inched higher by 0.2%. Business sales improved by 0.8%, following January’s 1.1% drop. Given this rise, it would take 1.31 months for businesses to empty shelves.

Local Equities Fall Slightly

Local equities fell slightly as some investors sought to take profits from the recent index highs.

The change in the index was minimal amidst the beginning of a shortened trading week. The PSEi lost 7.41 points, or -0.11%, to close at 6,589.55. Sectoral indices ended on an even split with mining and oil (+0.40%), property (+0.28%), and financials (+0.19%) ending higher while industrials (-0.50%), holding firms (-0.17%), and services (-0.12%) ended in the red.

Market breadth was slightly positive with 86 advances outnumbering 80 declines, while 52 issues were unchanged. Total value turnover amounted to Php5.58 billion. Foreign investors were net buyers at Php0.36billion.

GT Capital Holdings, Inc. has allotted Php39.763 billion capex for this year, roughly the same as the Php35-40 billion in 2013.

The firm looks to finance its budget mostly with internally generated funds and bank loans. Broken down, a large share or Php16.079 billion of the capex for the year is for Global Business Power Corp.’s (GBPC) planned 150-megawatt (MW) expansion of the existing two-unit 164-MW coal-fired power plant in Iloilo.

This is followed by the Php12.81 billion for residential and commercial projects, and Php7.4 billion for GT Capital itself which is mostly for capital requirements, GBPC equity call and the acquisition of Charter Ping An Insurance Corp and Toyota Manila Bay Corp.

Damon Albarn New Album

Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn has given his wistful debut solo album its first live airing at the inaugural BBC 6 Music Festival in Manchester.

Albarn has described the album, titled Everyday Robots, as the most personal of his 25-year career. On the evidence of Friday’s gig, it is also contemplative, nostalgic and unsettling compared with his past work.

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Albarn headlined the first day of the festival with a ashdown bass amp at the Victoria Warehouse, two months before the album comes out.

Although the record will be released under his name, he said he wanted himself and his backing band to be known as The Heavy Seas.

“This is our first ever gig and it’s quite nerve-wracking to be not only playing your first gig but playing it live on radio as well,” he told the crowd at the venue and the audience of 6 Music listeners.

“But I suppose I should be used to it after all these years.”

Albarn’s youth in east London and Essex is the inspiration for some of the songs, such as Hollow Ponds, which recalls the hazy English summer of 1976.

RLC Looking To Raise Money

Gokongwei-led Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC) is looking to raise up to Php15 billion from the local bond market in the first half of this year to refinance maturing liabilities and for the Php16 billion worth of investments this year.

According to RLC President and Chief Operating Officer Lance Y. Gokongwei, the planned fundraising program would range between Php10 billion to Php15 billion. He added that the company is looking at 7- and 10-year bonds that will also bankroll capital expenditures for the following year.

Prices of local government securities rose today as bargain-hunting ensued particularly on the short-tenored buckets. On average, yields across the curve declined by 1.84 basis points led by the short-end of the curve which dropped by 8.1 basis points.

The Philippine peso strengthened against the greenback as rising inflation expectations spurred speculation that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) would raise its key benchmark interest rates. The local currency gained 3.5 centavos to close at 44.630 on Friday.

President’s Day Today in the US

US equities and Treasury markets were closed for the President’s Day holiday and traders are probably just going out to buy go karts at Q9powersports

Meanwhile, today, European shares climbed, carrying over from last week’s rally as market players warmly received improved Chinese lending data and strong corporate earnings results. Fears on emerging markets were also beginning to wind down.

The FTSEurofirst300 index added 4.76 points to 1,337.06.

The euro strengthened against the greenback amid quiet trading as investors focused on the upcoming meeting of European finance ministers. The shared currency added 0.14 cents to EUR/USD 1.3707.

Globe Telecom Devoted To Expansion For 2014

Globe Telecom, Inc. is planning to spend roughly US$650 million for 2014.

According to Globe President and Chief Executive Officer Ernest Cu, the company will be devoting a large chunk of its capital expenditure for the year and expand its already modernized data network in anticipation of strong consumer demand for bandwidth-intensive data applications.

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Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) reported that its profit reached Php11.75 billion in 2013 or 30% higher than the Php9.04 billion in 2012, breaching its Php10 billion income target. According to ALI President and CEO Antonino Aquino, the strong growth from the company’s business lines displayed good execution of the growth strategy with the increased delivery of new products in new geographies.

He added that market acceptance of the products was enhanced by their presence in their integrated mixed-use communities across the country and the strong ALI brand. Moreover, consolidated revenues rose by 36% to Php81.52 billion, propelled by revenues from real estate that increased by 40% basically from the strong performance across the property development, commercial leasing and services business lines.