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Stocks drop; DMCI, Semirara lead losers

Stocks retreated Thursday from a record level, as investors took profit from previous days’ rally and as the index was pulled down by the mining sector following reports of an accident in a coal mine of Semirara Mining Corp. The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, fell 14 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 6,513.41.  The mining and oil subsector sank 1.6 percent. The heavier index, representing all shares, also shed 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to settle at 4,091.38, as losers outnumbered gainers, 84 to 72, with 56 issues unchanged.  Value turnover amounted to P7.9 billion. Four people died and six others were missing after a section of Semirara Mining Corp.’s coal mine pit in Antique province collapsed, prompting the company to halt operations. Semirara fell 8 percent to P237.20, the sharpest loss since Sept. 23, 2011. It dropped as much as 15 percent after the news. Parent DMCI Holdings Inc. declined 3 percent to P53.05. Alliance Global Group Inc., which has investments in casino, liquor and fastfood, dipped 2.9 percent to P20.20. MSCI Inc., whose indexes are tracked by investors with about $7 billion in assets, said it will cut the company’s weighting in the MSCI Philippines Index by 2.31 percent to 2.41 percent. Universal Robina Corp. gained 2.4 percent to P95.20, after MSCI said it will raise the stock’s weightings in its indexes. The changes take effect after Feb. 28, according to MSCI. “There’s a short-term recalibration” of share prices following MSCI’s announcement, Mark Matthews, Singapore-based head of research at Bank Julius Baer & Co., which manages about $305 billion, said in a phone interview today. “In the long term, it doesn’t make any difference. If the companies are good they will go up, and if they are bad, they go down.” Meanwhile, other Asian stock markets moved higher Thursday on the heels of positive corporate news and resilience in US consumer spending. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6 percent to 11,317.61. The Tokyo market shrugged off data showing the Japanese economy shrank for a third straight quarter in the last three months of 2012, as investors expected the yen’s recent weakness would boost company earnings. South Korea’s Kospi swung between gains and losses to be marginally lower at 1,975.02. Australia’s S&P/ASX 300 advanced 0.8 percent to 5,045.40 largely due to gains in the resource sector. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.9 percent to 23,433.27 amid muted trading. Market in Singapore fell while mainland China and Taiwan remained closed for Lunar New Year holidays. Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong, said the local market was being led higher by financial stocks on “a rumor” that Chinese banks would be given permission to increase lending. Agricultural Bank of China rose 3.7 percent. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank by market value, advanced 2.3 percent. The Hang Seng, reopening after a three-day holiday, displayed no sign of distress over North Korea’s underground nuclear test that took place Tuesday. With Bloomberg, AP
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