Market slumps; Semirara, BPI fall

The stock market tumbled Friday after a steep loss in Wall Street overnight as a global slump sparked by unease over Fed policy showed no signs of easing.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index slumped 83.70 points, or 1.1 percent, to 7,479.71 on a value turnover of P7.1 billion. Losers overwhelmed gainers, 123 to 59, with 47 issues unchanged.

Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-biggest lender in terms of assets, lost 3.4 percent to P90.70, while Semirara Mining and Power Corp. of the Consunji Group, dropped 4.3 percent to P22.50.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. of retail tycoon Henry Sy Sr. fell 2.5 percent to P35, but JG Summit Holdings Inc. of industrialist John Gokongwei rose 3.7 percent to P56.10.

Fresh political turbulence in Washington and renewed fears over US-China relations, meanwhile, pushed Asian markets lower Friday.

The resignation of US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis—seen as a moderating force on an often impulsive president—and the looming threat of a federal government shutdown alarmed investors as concern grows over weakening global growth.

Japanese stocks again bore the brunt of Asian losses Friday, with the Nikkei falling further into bear market territory to hit a fresh 15-month low and regional shares on course for the worst week since October.

Nissan slipped 2.04 percent after its former chairman Carlos Ghosn faced a fresh criminal allegation that could keep him in jail well into 2019.

Shanghai retreated, capping a difficult year for Chinese equities, with nearly $3 trillion wiped off the value of the country’s stock market since the end of January.

Sydney also lost ground while Hong Kong was flat in afternoon trade.

US stocks endured a torrid session, the latest losses in a bruising December that has set up Wall Street for its worst year since the 2007 financial crisis, with the Nasdaq now almost 20 percent off its peak this year.

Shares turned sharply lower after President Donald Trump hardened his demand Congress fund a US-Mexico border wall, plunging Washington into chaos and leaving the US government on the verge of a Christmas shutdown with less than 24 hours before a midnight Friday deadline to reach agreement.

Rising tension between the world’s two largest economies also unnerved markets, with China hitting back at the US after the Justice Department indicted two alleged Chinese hackers accused of having ties to Beijing’s security services.

US officials said the indictment showed President Xi Jinping had not fulfilled his pledge to stop cybercrime, but it drew a furious response from Beijing, which accused Washington of “fabricating facts.”

The row erupted as the two sides prepare for talks next month to resolve their trade conflict.

“A potential US government shutdown and US accusations of Chinese hacking fueled existing market concerns about economic growth,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking.

Crude added to anxiety on financial markets, with both WTI and Brent paring  gains earlier Friday.

Analysts said Opec moves to cut production would likely have little effect.

“There’s nothing Opec can do about that predicament,” Sam Margolin, a Wolfe Research LLC analyst, said.  With AFP

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