Stock mart closes flat; Petron, SMIC advance

Stocks closed flat Wednesday, tracking the movement of other Asian markets, on mounting investor fears over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, shed 1 point to close at 7,985.83, as five of the six major sectors declined.

The broader all-share index also tumbled 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to settle at 4,723.13, on a value turnover of P6.9 billion.  Losers outnumbered gainers, 133 to 66, while 45 issues were unchanged.

Six of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by oil refiner Petron Corp. which climbed 2.9 percent to P9.93, after announcing a higher profit in the first half.  

Petron said consolidated net income reached P8.2 billion in January to June, up from P5.3 billion it earned over the same period last year. 

SM Investments Corp., which booked a net income of P16.6 billion in January to June on a 9-percent increment from a year ago, went up 1.2 percent to P830, while SM Prime Holdings Inc. added 1.2 percent to close at P34.20.

Newly listed Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. fell 4.9 percent to P10.04.

Meanwhile, Asian equities fell, driving the region’s benchmark index to its biggest loss in a month, on rising geopolitical risk after President Donald Trump warned the US will retaliate against North Korea, raising tension between the two countries.

European stock markets also swirled lower in opening trade on Wednesday on mounting investor fears over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.5 percent to 160.41 as of 11:07 a.m. in Hong Kong as more three stocks declined for each one that advanced. Japan and South Korea equities slid as Trump said further threats from North Korea, which was reported by Washington Post to have developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could fit onto its missiles, would be met with “fire and fury.”

“A war is still far from erupting but, given recent gains and pricey valuation, prudence suggests it’s best to capitalize on the rising geopolitical tension by taking some money off the table,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at Manila-based BDO Unibank Inc. “Investors have a good excuse to stay on the sidelines.”

Japan’s Topix index was headed for its biggest slide since May 18 as the yen strengthened. South Korea’s benchmark equities gauge fell for a second day, dragged by Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has rallied 19 percent so far this year, last week posting its highest close since 2007 amid strong earnings from some of the region’s key companies and optimism U.S. interest rate increases will remain gradual. The rally has pushed stock valuations to an almost two-year high. With AFP, Bloomberg

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange , Philippine Stock Exchange index , PSE , PSEi , Petron Corp. , SM Investments Corp.
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