Market tumbles; Bloomberry rises

The stock market slumped Friday amid the impasse on the US-China trade talks and Wall Street’s decline overnight after the release of weak US retail sales.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index dropped 82.36 points, or 1 percent, to 7,908.89 on a value turnover of P16.4 billion. Losers beat gainers, 127 to 83, with 46 issues unchanged.

BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender in terms of assets, fell 5 percent to P133.60, while PLDT Inc., the largest telecommunications firm, also lost 5 percent to P1,112.

GT Capital Holdings Inc. of the Ty family dropped 3 percent to P990, but casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp. advanced 7.6 percent to P13.

The rest of Asian stocks retreated Friday as the US hailed “productive” trade talks in Beijing despite earlier reports suggesting an impasse, while Wall Street was hit by weak US retail sales.

Bourses across the region were already well down as Chinese inflation eased more than expected, reflecting sluggish demand.

With no further detail available about the outcome of the talks, traders turned their attention to a planned meeting between US officials and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing later Friday.

American and Chinese officials had gathered in a bid to resolve differences on trade before US President Donald Trump’s March 1 deadline for escalating tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.  

Trump indicated earlier in the week he could extend the deadline if progress was made by the delegates.

His economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the talks were “covering all the ground,” and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted that the meetings were “productive.”

But multiple reports said there had been little progress on thorny issues such as US demands that China crack down on forced technology transfers and reduce subsidies that favor domestic companies.

Hong Kong shed 1.9 percent while Shanghai fell 1.4 percent. Tokyo dropped 1.1 percent, with equities weighed down as the safe-haven yen rose, harming exporters.

Seoul, Taipei, Wellington and Jakarta all posted losses too, though Sydney edged up.

The bearish mood was amplified by official data showing factory and consumer price inflation in China rose at a slower rate than expected in January.

The weak producer prices were “a concern since these are highly correlated with profit growth in industry,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a research note.

Wall Street fell earlier after data showed US retail sales had dropped 1.2 percent in December—the largest month-to-month decrease in nine years.

The report suggested American consumers had held back during a peak holiday shopping season that coincided with a plunge in the stock market.

Markets shrugged off the news that the US Congress passed a spending bill to avert a government shutdown, which Trump has signaled he will sign before midnight Friday.

Any optimism was offset as the American president alarmed lawmakers with a plan to declare a national emergency to fund his controversial wall on the Mexico border. With AFP

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