Stocks retreat; PLDT declines

The stock market retreated Friday as investors cashed out following a healthy run-up since last week, and after Wall Street’s Trump-fueled surge finally came to an end.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index dropped 38.46 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,244.79 on a value turnover of nearly P7 billion. Losers edged gainers, 99 to 93, with 48 issues unchanged.

PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications company, fell 2.7 percent to P1,455, while International Container Terminal Services Inc., the largest port operator, declined 2.1 percent to P75.40.

Alliance Global Group Inc. of tycoon Andrew Tan lost 1.2 percent to P12.82, while Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. slipped 1.1 percent to P73.

Equity markets around the world are sharply higher since the US president last Thursday pledged a “phenomenal” tax reform package soon, raising hopes he would press on with plans to fire up the US economy.

The remarks were the spark for all three main Wall Street indices to hit record highs for five successive days, with help also coming from Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen’s upbeat assessment of the outlook for the US and hints at a March interest rate hike.

However, analysts said despite the bright week for markets there remained a lot of uncertainty, particularly with Trump’s first weeks in office engulfed in controversies, most recently over his relationship with Russia.

“The current political landscape is unlikely to change soon, nor will the debates surrounding tax, fiscal and Fed policies,” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at forex firm OANDA.

“As such we should expect the markets to come under renewed pressure and to be severely tested in the weeks to come,” he said in a commentary.

Hong Kong stocks fell 0.3 percent in the afternoon while Shanghai shed 0.9 percent by the close.

Sydney eased 0.2 percent and Seoul dropped 0.1 percent, while Tokyo lost 0.6 percent.

But Singapore rallied 0.4 percent following data that showed the city-state’s economy grew at its fastest pace in five years during October-December.

The dollar was also struggling to break out against its major peers despite Yellen’s comments this week to Congress that the economy continued to improve and left open the chance of a March rate hike.

The greenback climbed around three percent from its levels just before Trump’s tax comments―to flirt with the 115 yen mark Thursday. But it retreated in New York and was sitting at 113.34 yen in early Asia trade.

In company news, Seoul-listed Samsung Electronics sank 0.6 percent following news that the heir to the tech giant had been arrested as part of a probe into corruption and influence-peddling that caused South Korea President Park Geun-Hye to be impeached.

Topics: Stock Market , Philippine Stock Exchange , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PSE , PSEi , PLDT
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