Stock market slumps; URC drops

The stock market plunged Thursday along with the rest of Asia as a summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un ended abruptly without an agreement.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index slumped 183.63 points, or 2.3 percent, to 7,705.49 on a value turnover of P17.6 billion. Losers routed gainers, 142 to 56, with 43 issues unchanged.

Casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp. tumbled 7.6 percent to P11.40, while Universal Robina Corp., the biggest snack food maker, dropped 6.2 percent to P136.10. 

BDO Unibank Inc., the largest lender in terms of assets, fell 4.4 percent to P127.60, while conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. declined 3.5 percent to P4.70.

Meanwhile, Asian markets mostly fell Thursday, led by Seoul. Equities had been fluctuating through the day on tempered optimism over China-US trade talks, weak factory data from Beijing and fresh geopolitical tensions in Kashmir.

But they took a decisive turn south after an expected lunch and signing ceremony between the US and North Korean leaders was called off at the last minute.

The shock news came just hours after Kim raised the prospect of a permanent US diplomatic presence in Pyongyang and Trump said he was in “no rush” for a speedy deal over North Korea’s nuclear program.

Both men left the summit venue in Hanoi without a public signing ceremony and Trump moved up his news conference by two hours, sparking doubts about the progress made at the meeting.

“The two leaders discussed various ways to advance denuclearization and economic driven concepts,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future.”

Seoul dived 1.8 percent and Tokyo ended 0.8 percent lower, while Shanghai shed 0.4 percent and Hong Kong was off 0.3 percent in the afternoon. Singapore shed 0.7 percent.

Jakarta was more than one percent down each while Bangkok slipped 0.4 percent, though there were gains in Sydney and Wellington.

The global rally that has characterized most of this year had already taken a knock after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers that “real progress” had been made in trade talks with China, but a lot of work was still needed before a pact is signed.

While his comments did not derail expectations of an agreement at some point―with both sides reporting good progress and Trump delaying a deadline for a deal―it did give traders pause for thought, observers said.

Lighthizer said a “trade deal hasn’t been agreed yet, bringing some reality back to euphoric markets post-Trump’s tariff extension, despite the fact Lighthizer also announced both sides had agreed on an enforcement process,” said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

Also fueling selling pressure was figures showing Chinese manufacturing activity contracted for a third straight month in February, with factories hit by the long Lunar New Year break, concerns about slowing growth and uncertainty from the trade row. With AFP

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