Stock market slips on profit-taking

The stock market fell Wednesday on profit-taking after climbing sharply in the last two trading sessions, joining the rest of Asian markets.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index lost 16.41 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,869.56, on a value turnover of P6.4 billion. Losers beat gainers, 106 to 84, with 53 issues unchanged.

Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-biggest lender in terms of assets, dropped 3.2 percent to P83.15, while parent GT Capital Holdings Inc. decreased 2.4 percent to P1,018.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is into toll roads, water and electricity distribution, power generation and hospitals, declined 2 percent to P5.29, while

SM Investments Corp. of retail tycoon Henry Sy Sr. slipped 1.5 percent to P923.

Asian markets, meanwhile, tumbled with Wall Street and the dollar extended gains Wednesday as US interest rate worries resurfaced, while investors were also given a spook by North Korea’s threat to pull out of a historic summit over US demands.

After enjoying a relatively purple patch over the past week, investors were put back on the back foot by solid retail sales data that pointed to a surge in inflation that could push the Federal Reserve to hike borrowing costs three more times this year.

The news boosted expectations for the world’s number one economy and sent benchmark 10-year Treasury yields to a seven-year high.

But the prospect of debt costing more to service hit equities, sending all three main indexes on Wall Street lower.

The losses spread to Asia with Hong Kong falling 0.2 percent and Shanghai 0.7 percent off.

Tokyo ended 0.4 percent lower after data showed Japan’s economy contracted in January-March for the first time in two years.

Singapore shed 0.3 percent and Wellington sank more than one percent, while Bangkok and Jakarta were also well down. However, Sydney rose 0.2 percent, Seoul edged up 0.1 percent and Taipei put on 0.2 percent.

The dollar, which benefits from higher US rates, was holding above the 110 yen mark and around its highest mark since early February.

The euro is around its weakest level this year, with a series of soft economic data out of the eurozone denting the prospects of an end to the European Central Bank’s crisis-era stimulus. The pound continues to be dampened by Brexit uncertainty.

The greenback also surged against high-yielding currencies, with the South Korean won 0.5 percent off and Australia’s dollar 0.7 percent lower.

North Korea moved back into the spotlight as it threatened to cancel next month’s historic summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump if Washington seeks to push Pyongyang into unilaterally giving up its nuclear arsenal.

“If the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue,” first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement carried by KCNA state media.

The announcement came as a shock after months of rapid diplomatic rapprochement that has fueled hopes for peace on the peninsula. 

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. , GT Capital Holdings Inc. , Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
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