Stocks climb on bargain-hunting

The stock market rose Thursday on bargain-hunting, led by battered issues that slumped the other day and sent the benchmark index to a 15-month low.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index climbed 58 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,967.84 on a value turnover of P8.4 billion. Losers, however, edged gainers, 95 to 91, with 45 issues unchanged.

Security Bank Corp., the sixth-biggest lender in terms of assets, advanced 5.1 percent to P163.90, while major property developer Ayala Land Inc. rallied 4.5 percent to P40.40.

BDO Unibank Inc., the largest bank, rose 4.4 percent to P143, while International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator, added 3.9 percent to P106.

The rest of Asian markets fell again on Thursday as coronavirus infections surged outside China with more new countries reporting cases and analysts warning of more pain ahead for investors.

Equity markets in Europe and the US ended Wednesday on a mixed note, having been hammered the previous two days, mainly supported by bargain-buying.

But Asia continued to fall, with Tokyo ending down 2.1 percent and Hong Kong shedding 0.5 percent with traders unmoved by a big-spending budget from the city’s finance chief aimed at shoring up the struggling economy.

Sydney fell 0.8 percent while Singapore, Taipei, Wellington and Jakarta were also well down.  

Seoul was down 1.1 percent after authorities in South Korea said a total of 1,595 had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the country, the highest outside China.

However, Shanghai closed up 0.1 percent as the virus appeared to be easing in China, while there were signs people were returning to the streets in some affected areas.

Donald Trump looked to ease concerns about the crisis Wednesday, telling reporters in a rare White House briefing he did not think it “inevitable” that COVID-19 would continue to spread throughout the US.

That came a day after the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned: “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen.”

Investors are growing increasingly fearful about the economic impact with several big-name companies including Apple, Microsoft and drinks giant Diageo expecting sales to be hit.

The virus continues to spread around the world, with Brazil reporting Latin America’s first case, while Greece, Georgia, Norway and Pakistan following suit.

Around 40 countries have now been affected and the global death toll now stands at about 2,800 with more than 80,000 infected.

China on Wednesday announced its fewest daily deaths in almost a month, while for the first time more people were reported to have come down with the virus outside China than inside.

Still, observers warned of worse to come for markets.

“There’s more room potentially to go with this correction,” Katie Koch, at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said.

“There is still so much more uncertainty around how coronavirus is going to spread, particularly in the US.” With AFP

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