Stock market slips; ICTSI gains

Share prices and those in the rest of the region dipped Tuesday as investors bide their time until the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting. 

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 29.61 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,843.41 on a value turnover of nearly P6 billion. Losers beat gainers, 104 to 89, with 44 issues unchanged.

JG Summit Holdings Inc. of industrialist John Gokongwei lost 2.1 percent to P61.70, while unit Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. dropped 4.6 percent to P78.90.

DMCI Holdings Inc. of the Consunji family dropped 3.2n percent to P11.90, but International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator, rose 1.5 percent to P120.80.

The pound, meanwhile, fought back against the dollar after taking a hit from the latest twist in the Brexit saga.

With little fresh information on developments in China-US trade talks, focus of stock market investors has turned this week to the US central bank and its interest rate plans.

Board members are widely expected to hold fire on another hike but its post-meeting statement Wednesday will be pored over, with observers predicting the Fed will opt for just one increase this year as opposed to the two previously tipped, owing to the stuttering economy.

The Fed’s softer tone has been one of the key factors in a global stocks rally this year, with investors buoyed by the prospect of cheap borrowing.

Wall Street provided a positive lead with all three main indexes ending higher, though Asia struggled to take up the baton.

Hong Kong inched down 0.1 percent after three days of gains, while Shanghai closed 0.2 percent lower and Tokyo ended 0.1 percent weaker.

Sydney, Singapore and Seoul were each 0.1 percent off, while Wellington and Taipei were also slightly down.

The pound was slowly edging back up against the dollar after taking a hit from fresh Brexit uncertainty sparked by Prime Minister Theresa May being told she would not be allowed to hold another vote on her exit deal.

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow used a centuries-old rule that said the government could not submit its Brexit deal for another vote in parliament if it is “the same” or “substantially the same” to the one already rejected by MPs.

The decision means May must come up with a revised plan just two weeks before the key March 29 deadline for leaving, having already been told by EU leaders they will not budge any further.

“Given the EU’s stand seems to be that negotiations have finished on the withdrawal agreement, if that’s right then time’s up, and so the odds of May’s soft Brexit plan being approved now have fallen dramatically,” said David de Garis, director of economics and markets at National Australia Bank.

May had been due to hold another vote this week on the pact. If it had passed, she would have sought a short extension to Brexit but if it had failed, some reports said the divorce could have been put off for up to two more years. With AFP

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