Market retreats; Metrobank dips

The stock market slipped in last-minute selling Wednesday, erasing the big gains posted in early trading after a favorable January inflation report.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 11.03 points, or 0.1 percent, to 8,058.45 on a value turnover of P7.3 billion. The benchmark index rose to an intra-day high 8,213.71. Gainers, however, beat losers, 140 to 76, with 42 issues unchanged. 

Inflation rate eased to a 10-month low of 4.4 percent in January from 5.1 percent in December, on slower increases in the prices of non-alcoholic beverages and food products, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Tuesday.

JG Summit Holdings Inc. of industrialist John Gokongwei dropped 3.7 percent to P63.55, while Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-biggest lender in terms of asserts, declined 1.7 percent to P82.50.

ISM Communications Corp., a member of the consortium declared by the government as the country’s third major telecommunications firm, surged 8.2 percent to P6.74, while Jollibee Foods Corp., the largest fast-food  chain, rose 2.2 percent to P322.

Shares in Tokyo and Sydney, meanwhile, rose Wednesday in another holiday-thinned trading day as investors tracked a positive lead from Wall Street but there was little movement after Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

With most of the region off for the Lunar New Year break there were few catalysts to drive business.

Trump’s annual address touched on a number of issues including the China trade war, North Korea, the Russia investigation and healthcare.

But while he called for bipartisanship, observers said there was little to suggest his standoff with the Democrats over his Mexican border wall can be resolved anytime soon.

Their battle brought the US government to a standstill for more than a month before it was reopened for three weeks, with the two sides unable to reach an agreement.

“President Trump has ten months to get anything done before markets go into election mode and his State of the Union address did not provide much optimism that we will see bipartisanship action help deliver on most if not all of his initiatives,” said OANDA market analyst Edward Moya.

By the end of the day Tokyo was up 0.1 percent, though car giant Toyota sank 0.7 percent after slashing its annual net profit forecast and announcing a dive in nine-month profit.

Sydney finished 0.3 percent up, while Mumbai gained 0.6 percent, Bangkok added 0.5 percent and Jakarta was up one percent.

On currency markets the pound was virtually unchanged against the dollar after tumbling Tuesday on weak economic data and growing concerns about Britain leaving the EU without a deal, which analysts warn could be catastrophic.

The prospect of such a scenario has led a number of companies to delay making decisions on new projects, while others have already decided to shift their headquarters or production lines.

The Australian dollar was down more than one percent after the head of the country’s central bank hinted there were unlikely to be any interest rate hikes soon. With AFP

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PSEi , Metrobank
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