Market rises; ISM tops gainers

Stocks rose slightly Tuesday, spurred by fresh Wall Street records but investors remained jittery about the global economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, picked up 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 7,439.40. Despite the gain, it was still 4.8 percent down since the start of the year.

The broader all-share index also rose 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to settle at 4,390.05, on a value turnover of P4.5 billion.  Gainers outnumbered losers, 91 to 89, while 55 issues were unchanged.

Eight of the most active stocks ended in the green, led by ISM Communications Corp. which climbed 5.7 percent to P2.23 and Cosco Capital Inc. which advanced 4.6 percent to P6.57.

Most Asian stocks also traded higher Tuesday.  Eyes are on China as the world’s second-largest economy sputters back up after a forced extension to the Lunar New Year holiday because of the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000 people and disrupted major global supply chains.

After a nervous start to the week that saw Asian bourses plunge, most bounced back.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index was up 1.4 percent in afternoon trade, Sydney climbed 0.6 percent and Singapore rose 0.5 percent.

Mainland China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.4 percent higher. Elsewhere, Seoul jumped 1.0 percent and Taipei rose 0.8 percent, while Wellington was up 1.1 percent.

Markets in Tokyo were closed for a public holiday.

The positive mood in Asia followed Monday rallies on Wall Street, where the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq hit fresh records.

The 2019-nCoV virus, which emerged in central China, has spooked equity and oil markets for weeks, having spread to more than two dozen countries.

More than 42,000 infections have been confirmed so far in mainland China, and President Xi Jinping has described the situation in Hubei, the outbreak epicentre, as “still very grave”.

Chinese authorities are expected to make policy interventions to help ease the economic hit from the virus, analysts said, which could boost market confidence.

“While... uncertainties remain around nCoV, one sure thing you can probably count on is that the mother of all stimulus measures will get laid down by the (Chinese central bank),” wrote Stephen Innes, chief market strategist for Asia-Pacific at AxiCorp.

Investors will also be looking to see any assessments about the economic impact of the outbreak in US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A number of earnings reports are also expected this week, including from companies that could see a coronavirus hit.

Chinese tech giant Alibaba, Japanese automaker Nissan and MGM Resorts are among the firms scheduled to announce results on Thursday.

“We have to consider that the rebound in growth we were expecting over 2020 may be either delayed or somewhat less vigorous than we were anticipating due to the impact of the virus,” Mark Robertson of Aviva Investors told Bloomberg News.

China, the world’s largest importer and consumer of oil, was already battling an economic slowdown when the coronavirus emerged.

Fears of a decline in demand from China, and the resulting supply glut, has caused oil prices to tumble in recent weeks. With AFP

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