The stock market rose slightly Wednesday as traders await members of the incoming Cabinet of assumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 20.31 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,597.76 on a value turnover of nearly P6 billion. Losers, however, beat gainers, 107 to 76, with 57 issues unchanged.
Major property developer Ayala Land Inc. of the Ayala Group advanced 2.2 percent to P28.30, while SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group climbed 2 percent to P847.
DMCI Holdings Inc. of the Consunji Group increased 2 percent to P9.05, while PLDT Inc. of Indonesia’s Salim Group, the biggest telecommunications firm, rose 1.8 percent to P1,950.
The rest of Asian markets were mixed Wednesday, with little sign of any relief from recent dour performances as investors remain fearful about the economic outlook owing to the impact of inflation, higher interest rates, China’s slowdown and the Ukraine war.
A series of weak indicators around the world and downbeat forecasts from big firms have chilled trading floors in recent weeks as the surge in prices begins to drag on consumer confidence, with warnings now swirling of a possible global recession.
The tech sector was again in the firing line after Snap, the parent of social media app Snapchat, provided a gloomy economic outlook, sending its shares diving more than 40 percent.
Wall Street titans followed Snap down, with Facebook-parent Meta and Google-parent Alphabet tanking.
The mood was not helped by news that US new home sales tanked in April while the Richmond Fed manufacturing index also fell, with both at the lowest levels since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020.
“The market is moving its focus—and has been for the last month or so—from inflation concerns to growth concerns,” said Ellen Hazen of FL Putnam.
Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Taipei and Bangkok rose, while Tokyo, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta and Wellington fell.
Investors are now awaiting the Fed’s next move on interest rates, with expectations for more half-point hikes to come as officials struggle to bring inflation down from four-decade highs.
There was a little hope after one policymaker, Atlanta Fed chief Raphael Bostic, suggested a break in the increases in September could make sense as the bank tries to avert a recession.
National Australia Bank’s Tapas Strickland said that, while it was not clear that the Fed was close to being more supportive of markets, “it is clear that growth headwinds are becoming more evident in the data, particularly stemming from the profit reporting season”.
“The Fed of course remains focused on inflation, but if inflation reads were to start to moderate, then Bostic has opened up the possibility of a Fed pause.”
Minutes from the Fed’s most recent policy meeting are due later in the day and will be closely watched for an idea about its plans.
Meanwhile, China continues to struggle with the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, with leaders sticking to their zero-COVID strategy despite the dire impact of lockdowns on the economy.
And with no easing of that policy in sight, observers warned that a series of recent support measures would not be enough to lift optimism. With AFP