PH, global stock markets slump

The stock market tumbled Thursday, joining the rest of Asia and tracking a plunge on Wall Street, with trading floors awash with negativity on geopolitical concerns and following weak US economic and earnings data.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index plummeted 162.58 points, or 2.3 percent, to 6,966.84 on a value turnover of P5.5 billion. Losers routed gainers, 146 to 38, with 34 issues unchanged.

Universal Robina Corp., the biggest snack food maker, slumped 7.1 percent to P130, while Security Bank Corp., the sixth-biggest lender in terms of assets, dropped 5.2 percent to P137.50.

BDO Unibank Inc., the largest bank, declined 3.6 percent to P115, while International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator, fell 3 percent to P90.20.

The rest of Asian markets plunged. The bloodletting is the latest to hit global equities, which have been pummeled this year by a wave of problems led by the China-US trade war and rising Federal Reserve interest rates.

On top of those headwinds in recent weeks has been a brewing nuclear standoff between the US and Russia, the high-profile killing of a Saudi journalist, Brexit and Italy’s budget row with the European Union.

US stocks have broadly managed to avoid the hefty selling witnessed elsewhere—even clocking up a few record highs—thanks to a strong economy and mostly positive corporate results.

However, New York has finally succumbed as investors contemplate an end to the decade of cheap credit and the imposition of steep tariffs by the US and China in their ever-deepening trade row.

The Dow and the S&P 500 wiped out their gains for the year, while the Nasdaq dived more than four percent as the under-pressure tech sector took another beating.

The selling came after data showed US home sales were at their slowest pace for nearly two years, while the Fed said firms nationwide are worried about the tariffs as well as labour shortages.

And those losses filtered through to Asia, where Tokyo was scythed 3.7 percent and Sydney sank 2.8 percent to its weakest level in a year.

Hong Kong lost one percent, with Cathay Pacific collapsing 3.8 percent after it admitted to suffering a major data leak affecting up to 9.4 million passengers worldwide. The airline had fallen 6.5 percent to a nine-year low at one point.

Seoul shed 1.6 percent as data showed the South Korean economy expanded at a slower pace than expected in the third quarter.

Wellington lost 0.9 percent, while Taipei fell 2.4 percent. Bangkok, Mumbai and Singapore were also sharply lower.

However, Shanghai ended with a marginal gain thanks to a late afternoon rally with speculation state-backed funds stepped in to prop up the troubled market, which has lost a fifth of its value this year.

“With the S&P and Nasdaq having been  drawn into the global equity maelstrom, the US bellwethers are no longer the invincible titans that have held up global  market sentiment for what seems like an eternity,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PSEi
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