Market ends flat; RCBC advances

Stocks closed flat Tuesday, as it tracked regional markets that were weighed down by geopolitical concerns.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, was nearly unchanged at 7,588.98, as four of the six major sectors ended in the red.

The heavier index, representing all shares, picked up 6 points, or 0.1 percent, to finish at 4,536.84, on a value turnover of P5 billion.

Nine of the 20 most active stocks rose, led by Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. which surged 11.6 percent to P47 and conglomerate Alliance Global Group Inc. which climbed 3 percent to P14.52.  MRC Allied Inc. went up 1.6 percent to P0.32.

Meanwhile, Asian equities fell, with Australian shares slumping as a selloff in iron ore pulled down commodity producers. The dollar gained while gold fell for a third day.

Markets in Sydney and Hong Kong dropped after a two-day holiday, as investors caught up with global markets that have been weighed down by geopolitical concerns. 

Tokyo shares rose amid weakness in the yen after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the dollar’s strength is “a good thing.” Iron ore futures slid, extending losses after falling into a bear market earlier this month.

Investors continued to assess risk factors in the absence of any major international incidents that damped the prospects for global growth. The US has gotten encouraging signs that China will act to pressure Kim Jong Un’s regime to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, a State Department official said, but the Trump administration is holding on to military action—alone or with allies—as an option. 

Readings on American housing and New York manufacturing lowered the odds for higher interest rates, while faster growth in China boosted optimism about the strength of the global economy.

Japanese shares got a boost Tuesday on a weaker yen but elsewhere in Asia some key markets drifted lower despite a positive lead from Wall Street as geopolitical concerns kept traders on edge.

North Korea’s envoy to the United Nations warned Monday that Pyongyang was preparing for “any mode of war” triggered by US military action, just days after it defiantly test-fired another missile.

US Vice President Mike Pence was due to arrive in Tokyo Tuesday bringing a renewed commitment to Japan’s security amid growing threats from the isolated state.

There are fears that Pyongyang could react to a potential US strike by targeting South Korea or Japan, and officials in Tokyo and Seoul have been ill at ease with the more bellicose language deployed by President Trump’s administration. 

Washington has refused to rule out military action against the hermit state’s regime, worried that North Korea may soon build a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the US.

“It seems the focus is now firmly on future missile tests from North Korea and whether any future tests will actually be successful,” said IG market strategist Chris Weston.

“From here, it would all be down to Mr. Trump and his allies and what their reaction would be, but we can believe that markets will not take kindly to this. For now though the hope is on an increased prospects for talks, potentially incorporating China more into any negotiations.” With AFP, Bloomberg

Topics: Stocks , RCBC
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