Stocks drop for third straight day

The stock market retreated for the third straight day Friday to cap its gains during the week, with investors in search of a catalyst to push the market higher.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index lost 74.26 points, or 1 percent, to 7,461.06 on a value turnover of P6.3 billion. Losers beat gainers, 110 to 80, with 42 issues unchanged.

ISM Communications Corp., a member of the consortium declared by the government as the country’s third major telecommunications firm, fell 6.6 percent to P5.56, while conglomerate San Miguel Corp. declined 4.3 percent to P162.20

JG Summit Holdings Inc. of industrialist John Gokongwei dropped 3.7 percent to P50.10, while Ayala Land Inc. lost 2.7 percent to P40.75.

Asian investors, meanwhile, battled to finish a volatile week with some stability Friday as they weigh the outlook for China-US trade talks and uncertainty in oil markets, while looking ahead to the release of key US jobs data.

After the furious selling of the past two days, there was some optimism after a report said the Federal Reserve could slow down its pace of interest rate hikes next year, providing some much-needed relief to under-pressure dealers.

The general mood across trading floors is of unease, just days after the euphoria of Donald Trump’s tariffs ceasefire deal with China’s Xi Jinping at the G20 that put the row off for 90 days while they try to resolve the crisis.

No sooner had the rally from that announcement run its course than questions began to be raised about the details and whether the world’s top two economies could actually resolve their differences.

That was compounded by news that a top executive at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei had been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the US over allegations the firm had broken sanctions linked to Iran.

The apprehension of Meng Wanzhou fueled concerns about already fraught relations between Washington and Beijing and the future of the trade talks.

China on Thursday appeared to try to ease concerns by saying it would “immediately” implement measures agreed under the truce, while Trump later sent a tweet highlighting progress.

“Statement from China: ‘The teams of both sides are now having smooth communications and good cooperation with each other. We are full of confidence that an agreement can be reached within the next 90 days.’ I agree!” he wrote.

Tokyo closed 0.8 percent higher, while Hong Kong added 0.1 percent and Shanghai ended flat.

Sydney edged up 0.4 percent, Singapore and Seoul each gained 0.3 percent, while Wellington, Jakarta and Taipei were also higher.

Providing some support were hopes the Fed will not hike borrowing costs as much as previously expected over the next year.

A report in the Wall Street Journal said the bank would take a wait-and-see approach to its decisions as signs point to a possible slowdown in the world’s top economy.  

The prospect of rates continuing to rise for some time—making it more expensive to borrow to invest—has been a major reason for selling on world markets this year. With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Meng Wanzhou , ISM Communications Corp , JG Summit Holdings Inc , John Gokongwei
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