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Stocks rise slightly; banks climb

Share prices rose slightly Tuesday, a day after global markets suffered their biggest losses in more than a decade.

The Philippine Stock Exchange added 5.77 points, or 0.09 percent, to 6,318.38 on a value turnover of P7.4 billion. Losers, however, beat gainers, 136 to 74, with 36 issues unchanged.

Banks led advancers, with BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender in terms of assets, climbing 6.1 percent to P139 and Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-biggest, rallying 6.7 percent to P71.50.

Security Bank Corp., the sixth-biggest bank, rose 4.7 percent to P139, but D&L Industries, a maker of food ingredients and plastics, slumped 9.7 percent to P5.60.

A bounce in the price of oil, meanwhile, helped fuel a rally in equities in Asia on Tuesday, though observers remain on edge over the coronavirus outbreak.

Global stock markets capitulated on what has become known as “Black Monday,” with the Dow on Wall Street plunging more than 2,000 points, triggering an emergency break in early trade.

Asia had suffered a meltdown as the deadly disease continues to infect thousands and shows no sign of abating.

But there was relief on Tuesday as oil prices jumped up to eight percent after plunging by a third the previous day, in their worst session since the 1991 Gulf War.

The rush for safe investments also sent yields on US Treasuries to record lows, while the VIX “fear” index is within touching distance of its record high seen during the global financial crisis.

After a shaky start that had sparked fears of another rout, regional markets pushed into positive territory, with energy firms clawing back some of their massive losses.

Tokyo ended up 0.9 percent and Shanghai finished 1.8 percent higher with Hong Kong adding two percent in the afternoon.

Sydney surged more than three percent, while Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok gained more than two percent. Taipei and Seoul also clocked up gains, though Wellington fell 1.8 percent.

Gulf stocks also saw a bounce, with Dubai up 5.5 percent, Abu Dhabi gaining 4.2 percent, and Kuwait and Qatar also making big advances.

Sentiment was boosted by news that Chinese President Xi Jinping had visited Wuhan, the center of the virus outbreak, lifting hopes that the country is well on track to recovery as new infections fall. The news comes after weeks of quarantines that have rocked the global and local economy.   

Speculation is also mounting that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again, having slashed them last week, while the European Central Bank is due to meet this week to discuss monetary policy.

And Donald Trump said his administration would be meeting lawmakers to discuss economic relief measures to mitigate the impact of the disease as it spreads through the United States.

Still, while governments and central banks have unleashed, or are preparing to unleash, stimulus, the spread of COVID-19 is putting a huge strain on economies and stoking concerns of a worldwide recession.

That has now been compounded by an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that sparked Monday’s crude price plunge. With AFP

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