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Stocks climb; Sy companies rise

The stock market climbed for the third straight day on continued bargain-hunting ahead of the release of third-quarter earnings.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 41.57 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,141.25 on a value turnover of P4 billion. Gainers edged losers, 92 to 85, with 47 issues unchanged.

Companies owned by retail tycoon Henry Sy Sr. led the mild rally. SM Investments Corp. gained 2.1 percent to P868, while unit SM Prime Holdings Inc. added 1.3 percent to P34.45. BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender in terms of assets, advanced 2 percent to P118.40.

International Container Terminal Services Inc., the largest port operator, rose 1.1 percent to P95.

The rest of Asian markets resumed their downtrend on Thursday as investors contemplated more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, while Washington added to China-US frictions and Brexit negotiators struggle to find common ground.

The broad rally across world markets in the middle of the week that was fueled by upbeat earnings gave way to ongoing uncertainty about the global outlook.

Minutes from the Fed’s latest policy meeting showed board members expect to hike borrowing costs as the world’s top economy goes from strength to strength and inflation picks up.

However, some members highlighted the chances of further instability among emerging markets, which have been battered in recent months by a flight of capital to the US and fueling concerns of contagion that could throw the global economy off track.

The minutes sent the US dollar higher on Wednesday and it held its gains in Asian trade against its peers, while high-yielding and emerging market currencies were deep in the red.

All three main Wall Street indexes ended negative—a day after chalking up their best day in more than six months—with below-par earnings denting sentiment.

And in Asia Tokyo ended 0.8 percent lower, while Seoul fell 0.9 percent and Singapore shed 0.5 percent.

Hong Kong, which returned after a one-day break to play catch-up with Wednesday’s rally, was 0.6 percent lower in the afternoon.  

Taipei Jakarta and Bangkok were also sharply down but Sydney rose 0.1 percent after data showed unemployment in Australia at its lowest in more than six years.

Shanghai dived almost three percent to a four-year low as already-strained relations between China and the US took another hit after the White House said it plans to withdraw from an international treaty on postal rates in a move aimed at pressuring Beijing.

The move was pushed by top advisor Peter Navarro, according to The New York Times. Navarro has encouraged Donald Trump to crack down on China on a variety of trade and political questions that he has argued are disadvantaging the US.

The “president has gone postal, escalating US-China tensions and a stronger dollar will pose considerable headwinds to local equity markets”, warned Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA. With AFP

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