The stock market virtually closed flat Friday, with investors closely monitoring the US-China talks.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 5.70 points, or 0.07 percent, to 7,824.59 on a value turnover of P5.5 billion. Gainers edged losers, 90 to 88, with 58 issues unchanged.
Robinsons Land Corp. of the Gokongwei Group climbed 3.3 percent to P26.50, while parent JG Summit Holdings Inc. gained 1.3 percent to P78.95.
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the biggest lender in terms of assets, rose 2.2 percent to P68.40, while parent GT Capital Holdings Inc. of the Ty Group added 2 percent to P894.
The rest of Asian markets mostly rose Friday as a sense of optimism returned to trading floors after a report said China’s point man on the US tariffs talks had offered to host a meeting to help push through their crucial mini pact.
However, investors were nervous that the deal could collapse at any minute after US lawmakers passed a bill supporting Hong Kong rights, causing anger in Beijing.
Asian investors broadly maintained early gains. Hong Kong added 0.5 percent and Tokyo ended up 0.3 percent.
Singapore rose 0.7 percent, Sydney rose 0.6 percent, Seoul and Bangkok gained 0.3 percent, while Taipei was up 0.1 percent.
However, Shanghai slipped 0.6 percent while Wellington, Mumbai and Jakarta were in the red.
Expectations that the economic superpowers would be able to sign off on the agreement soon has helped fan a rally across world markets for weeks, though a lack of detail or signs of progress of late is becoming unsettling for many.
Hopes were given a lift Thursday after the Wall Street Journal said top negotiator Vice Premier Liu He had invited his US counterparts for further discussions to haul the deal over the line.
That came a day after he had expressed confidence they would eventually reach a breakthrough.
Adding to the positivity was a report in the South China Morning Post that said Washington would probably delay imposing fresh tariffs planned for next month, even if they have not reached a deal by then.
The rolling back of levies is a key demand of China’s in the talks.
“The market is looking for some bullish signal that things aren’t going to get worse and that we’re not going to see further deterioration in trade talks between the US and China,” Erin Browne, at Pacific Investment Management, told Bloomberg TV.
“They just don’t want to see further escalation.”
On Friday, President Xi Jinping said China wanted to hammer out a deal but was “not afraid” to fight back when necessary. He told former US officials and other foreign dignitaries at a meeting in Beijing that he wanted to “work for a phase-one agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality.”
The remarks came two days after Donald Trump complained Beijing had not made sufficient concessions so far, making him reluctant to conclude a bargain.
Eyes are on the White House after Congress sent the Hong Kong bill to Trump to sign into law. Beijing has warned of consequences over the bill and there are fears for the trade talks if Trump signs it. Worries about China’s reaction caused a sharp drop on global markets Thursday. With AFP