Stocks decline; Now, DMCI retreat

The stock market pared its losses in late trading Monday on lingering concerns over a possible trade war between The United States and China.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 38.42 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,932.38 after shedding by as much 1.7 percent in early trading on a value turnover of P6.3 billion. Losers overwhelmed gainers, 138 to 65, with 41 issues unchanged. 

Now Corp., which is bidding to become country’s third biggest telecommunications company, slumped 15.6 percent to P6.85 after listed and potential rival Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. signed an agreement with state-run National Transmission Corp. over the potential use of the government’s national fiber optic backbone facility.

DMCI Holdings Inc. of the Consunji Group lost 5.2 percent to P12.30, while port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. declined 2.9 percent to P100.

PLDT Inc., the largest telecommunications firm, dropped 2.5 percent to P1,462.

Most Asian markets, meanwhile, extended last week’s worldwide losses as investors fret that Donald Trump’s controversial tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese goods will spark a trade war that would hammer the global economy.

The US move to impose levies, claiming China is breaching intellectual property rights, sparked a rout of equities across the world, while China warned it was “not afraid of a trade war.”

Hong Kong slipped 0.1 percent in the afternoon and Shanghai finished 0.6 percent lower, while Sydney gave up 0.5 percent.

Wellington, Singapore and Jakarta were also down.

However, Tokyo bounced back in late trade to end up 0.7 percent on bargain-buying, while Seoul climbed 0.8 percent as it emerged that South Korea and the United States have reached an understanding on revising their free-trade agreement and on steel tariffs.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the weekend that Trump was not ready to back down but added that he had “very productive conversations” with Chinese officials on the issue.

Trump’s announcement came weeks after he unveiled tariffs on the import of steel and aluminum products as he presses on with his “America First” protectionist program.

Beijing did not rule out cutting back its purchases of US Treasuries, which are crucial to keep the wheels of the world’s top economy greased. China is the biggest buyer of Treasuries.

Wall Street’s three main indexes tumbled for a second successive day on Friday, and Asian investors—who fled to the hills last week—continued to sell on Monday.

“How China escalates will determine the pace of play, but Chinese retaliation so far has been more genial than initially thought, and they have made efforts for a diplomatic solution,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA.

“Although China is willing to negotiate and is likely to offer compromises, uncertainty and the fear of escalation will likely hold back market sentiment in the short run.”

Adding to the negative sentiment was news that Trump had installed a hardline hawk, John Bolton, as his national security adviser, stoking geopolitical worries. With AFP

Topics: stock market , United States , China , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp.
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