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Market falls; PLDT, BDO decline

The stock market fell Monday along with the rest of Asia, with investors worried about the impact of the China coronavirus outbreak on the global economy.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index slumped 76.34 points, or 1 percent, to 7,430.86 on a value turnover of P8.7 billion. Losers beat gainers, 120 to 77, with 45 issues unchanged.

PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, dropped 3.5 percent to P1,027, while GT Capital Holdings Inc. of the Ty Group declined 3.2 percent to P717.

BDO Unibank Inc., the largest lender in terms of assets, shed 3.5 percent to P150, while ISM Communications Corp. sank 13.2 percent to P2.11.

Markets across the Asia-Pacific were also in the red on Monday amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The virus has killed more than 900 people, infected 40,000 across mainland China and spread to more than two dozen countries in what has been termed a global health emergency.

It has also jolted major supply chains for everything from food and household supplies to car and electronics parts.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed 0.6 percent down, while Hong Kong pared some losses after tanking 1.1 percent at the open.

Elsewhere in afternoon trade, Sydney slipped 0.1 percent, Seoul was down 0.6 percent and Singapore was 0.7 percent lower.

Shanghai, however, recovered and was up 0.3 percent after opening down 0.5 percent.

Taipei, Jakarta, and Mumbai were also under water.

Investors around the world have been watching with concern as China, the world’s second-largest economy battles the novel coronavirus, which emerged at the end of last year in the central city of Wuhan.

The domestic impact was reflected in China’s inflation figures released Monday, which showed the highest rise in consumer prices in more than eight years, with food prices spiking more than 20 percent.

It has also disrupted the supply chains of major global firms such as Apple supplier Foxconn and auto giant Toyota. Key production facilities across China have been temporarily closed, with authorities imposing lockdowns and quarantine measures.

The World Health Organization has said there are some signs that the epidemic is stabilizing in China, but the agency’s chief has cautioned that the number of cases overseas could be just “the tip of the iceberg.”

“This coronavirus seems to be going on for longer, is infecting more people and the hit to growth will be longer,” Diana Mousina, an economist at AMP Capital Investors, told Bloomberg TV.

“You won’t be able to recoup all of the negative impacts in the first quarter.”

Analysts have cautioned that the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China and beyond is yet to be fully understood.

“Let’s not try to sugar coat things here,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp.

“With a chunk of China’s industrial complex shuttered beyond (Lunar New Year), we’re headed for one of the worst Q1 economic growth periods on record.”

The Asian falls at the start of the week came after a negative cue on Friday on Wall Street, where the three main indexes closed down. With AFP

Topics: coronavirus outbreak , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PLDT Inc.
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