The stock market virtually closed flat Monday on thin volume after a long holiday break, with investors trading cautiously amid surging oil prices in the world market.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added just 11.21 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,996.11 on a value turnover of P3.6 billion. Losers edged gainers, 96 to 90, with 47 issues unchanged.
PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm owned by the Salim Group of Indonesia, advanced 3.3 percent to P1,892, while conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc. of the Gokongwei Group, rose 1.8 percent to P56.50.
International Container Terminal Services Inc. of tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., the largest port operator, climbed 1.4 percent to P223.60, but newly-listed CTS Global Equity Group Inc. fell 2.7 percent to P1.08.
The rest of Asian stocks closed lower on Monday in cautious trade, as figures showed China’s economic growth accelerated in the first quarter of the year, but the government warned of “significant challenges” ahead.
Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 ended down more than one percent and Shanghai posted small losses, while Hong Kong and Sydney were closed for holidays.
Shanghai reported its first COVID-19 deaths since the start of its weeks-long lockdown.
China’s largest city and economic powerhouse has stewed under a patchwork of restrictions this year amid the country’s worst COVID-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic.
The country reported first-quarter economic growth of 4.8 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said, as the pandemic threatens Beijing’s ambitious annual growth target.
That figure was up from 4.0 percent in the final months of 2021.
The world’s second-biggest economy was already losing steam in the latter half of last year as it endured a property slump and regulatory crackdowns.
“We must be aware that with the domestic and international environment becoming increasingly complicated and uncertain, economic development is facing significant difficulties and challenges,” said NBS spokesman Fu Linghui.
“Overall, the data suggest that China started the year well, but as the quarter has moved on, the headwinds have gotten stronger,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst with OANDA.
“A slowing property market, sweeping COVID restrictions, the Ukraine invasion pushing up base commodity and energy prices, and a central bank still intent on deleveraging sectors of the economy, have all combined to weigh on China’s growth.
“About the only thing missing is a meaningful rise in inflation, which is some small sliver of comfort.”
Oil prices, which have been elevated since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, were up again, with Brent Crude topping $111 a barrel.
Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said the rise was “likely to fuel inflation fears and rate hike jitters around the meaningful Fed action required to snuff those fears out.”
Russia is a major global oil and gas supplier, and–along with Ukraine—is also a key player in the grain sector.
The conflict has shaken markets for these commodities, and the impact has been felt from the Middle East to South America. With AFP