Stocks fell Monday, tracking other Asian markets on persistent North Korea concerns following a weekend of tense exchanges with US President Donald Trump.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, shed 36 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 8,244.73, as four of the six major sectors declined.
The heavier index, representing all shares, also dropped 15 points, or 0.3 percent, to settle at 4,862.65, on a value turnover of P6.8 billion. Losers outnumbered gainers, 156 to 65, while 36 issues were unchanged.
Six of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by Apex Mining Company Inc. which surged 28.7 percent to P2.20 and PXP Energy Corp. which jumped 27.9 percent to P9.91. Robinsons Retails Holdings Inc. went up 4.6 percent to P95.20.
Energy Development Corp. slid 15.1 percent to P6, while Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. fell 6.7 percent to P18.28. Filinvest Land Inc. tumbled 6.1 percent to P2.02.
Meanwhile, Japanese stocks rallied on a weaker yen Monday as traders bet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will call a snap election. Other Asian markets traded lower on North Korea concerns.
Abe is expected to announce a vote for next month in which most see him as likely to cruise to victory, with the main opposition in disarray and his popularity boosted by his handling of the ongoing Korean crisis.
Adding to the positive tone in Tokyo was a report in the Yomiuri newspaper saying the premier is also considering a multi-billion-dollar stimulus for the stuttering economy.
The prospect of more cash being pumped into financial markets weighed on the yen, providing a boost to exporters in Tokyo trade.
The dollar rose back around the mid-112 yen region, having fallen at the end of last week below 112 yen, while the Nikkei ended 0.5 percent higher.
“The yen is in a favorable range for Japanese stocks,” Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities, told AFP. “Market players are paying attention to the election, hoping for campaign pledges to boost the economy.”
However, most other regional markets were unable to track Tokyo’s lead following another weekend stand-off between Washington and Pyongyang.
After North Korea’s threat last week to test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific, Trump and Kim Jong-Un’s regime traded fresh barbs.
With the North warning of a missile attack on the US and Trump tweeting its leaders “won’t be around much longer!”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “we could drop into a very unpredictable nosedive”. With AFP, Bloomberg
While most observers say there is little chance of a nuclear war, the ongoing spat is keeping traders on their toes and Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, said: “It all sounds like it’s headed toward some sort of conflict.”
Hong Kong retreated 1.2 percent in the afternoon and Seoul was off 0.4 percent while Shanghai fell 0.3 percent and Singapore was off 0.2 percent.
Sydney ended barely higher having pared morning gains but Wellington was up 0.7 percent despite uncertainty following the weekend vote that left New Zealand with a hung parliament.
In early European trade London fell 0.4 percent, while Frankfurt and Paris each shed 0.2 percent.
On currency markets the New Zealand dollar slipped 0.8 percent, while the euro edged down as German Chancellor Angela Merkel looked set to win a fourth term but with a much reduced share of the vote and a big jump in support for the far-right AfD party.
“The question is obviously now what it means for policy going forward” in Germany, Mitul Kotecha, head of Asia FX and rates strategy at Barclays Bank Plc, told Bloomberg Television.
“Investors are going to be closely following announcements on policy, especially given the fact that the AfD is not just nationalist, but also anti euro to some extent.” With AFP, Bloomberg