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Stocks decline; Vista Land climbs

The stock market fell Friday following losses on Wall Street as fresh doubts emerged over the prospects for US-China trade talks and global growth outlook.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index dropped 29.41 points, or 0.4 percent, to 8,070.89 on a value turnover of P7.8 billion. Losers beat gainers, 119 to 98, with 34 issues unchanged.

The market ignored the decision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to keep interest rates unchanged and cut the inflation outlook for the year to 3.07 percent from from 3.18 percent and the 2020 forecast to 2.98 percent from 3.04 percent.

Petron Corp., the bigger of the two oil refineries, declined 6 percent to P7.20

after the bourse removed it from the main index.

Cemex Holdings Philippines Inc. lost 4.3 percent to P2.47, while PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, fell 3.4 percent to P1,240.

Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc. of the Villar Group rose 5 percent to P6.50.

The rest of Asian stocks fell sharply Friday. Tokyo led the slump, while Hong Kong returned from the three-day Lunar New Year break also in the red as investors reacted to negative signals from the US ahead of next week’s crunch trade negotiations in Beijing.

US President Donald Trump told reporters he did not expect to meet Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline, when US duties on many Chinese goods are due to jump.

Top White House economist Larry Kudlow further doused expectations by saying Washington and Beijing are a “sizeable distance” apart in talks, adding that no date for a US-China summit has been set.

Analysts say Trump meeting with Xi ahead of the cut-off would make a meaningful deal more likely, although the difficulty of matching schedules had been flagged in advance with the US president flying to Vietnam to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un later this month.

Economists say the imposition of the tariffs could weaken the global economy after a brief rally at the start of 2019.

“Share markets have had a great rebound from oversold conditions in December and are now up against technical resistance and getting overbought,” Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital, told Bloomberg.

“Meanwhile a bunch of balls remain up in the air regarding the trade war, the US shutdown and slowing global growth. So there is a high risk of a pull back from here.”

Tokyo closed down 2.0 percent, while Hong Kong shed 0.3 after paring heavier early losses.

Seoul lost 1.2 percent and Jakarta 0.4 percent. Shanghai and Taipei remain closed for the week.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia became the latest central bank to slash growth forecasts, citing the effects of a weaker housing market.

It said growth would reach 2.5 percent in the middle of this year, well down from the 3.25 percent it previously projected.

Sydney lost 0.3 percent in Friday trading, while the Australian dollar also fell.

Earlier, the European Commission slashed its eurozone growth forecast for this year on an unexpected slowdown in Germany, tensions over lackluster growth prospects in Italy, and French protests. With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Wall Street , Xi Jinping , Kim Jong Un , Donald Trump
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