Stocks closed virtually flat Wednesday, with the benchmark index erasing early losses on select buying as investors weighed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to keep Metro Manila under general community quarantine.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added just 1.99 points, or 0.03 percent, to 6,209.71 on a value turnover of P15.6 billion. Losers, however, edged gainers, 98 to 95, with 47 issues unchanged.
Jollibee Foods Corp., the biggest fast-food chain, rose 2.7 percent to P143.80, while Universal Robina Corp., the largest snack food maker, climbed 2.2 percent to P132.90.
First Gen Corp., a major energy producer and owned by the Lopez Group, added 2 percent to P25, but International ContainerTerminal Services Inc., the biggest port operated and owned by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., fell 2.3 percent to P100.10.
Markets mostly rose in Asia on Wednesday as investors looked past spiking coronavirus infections and warnings of a US surge in the disease, with eyes on the economic recovery as countries press ahead with the easing of lockdowns.
Shanghai gained 1.4 percent with investors taking heart from the easing of some recently reimposed lockdowns as hopes grew that a recent outbreak in Beijing had been brought under control.
Mumbai also rose more than one percent, while Sydney and Singapore both put on 0.6 percent. Taipei was also higher.
Tokyo shed 0.8 percent after a closely watched Bank of Japan survey showed that confidence among the country’s biggest manufacturers had hit its lowest level since 2009 during the global financial crisis.
There were also losses in Seoul, Jakarta, Bangkok and Wellington.
Traders took their lead from another rally on Wall Street, which was lifted by a forecast-beating jump in US consumer confidence, while eyes were also on the release later this week of key jobs data out of Washington.
And while equities are considered unlikely to kick on unless there is a major vaccine breakthrough, analysts said the trillions of dollars in government and central bank support continues to provide a boost.
In the United States, Donald Trump’s top virus expert warned Congress that new daily cases could more than double unless officials step up efforts to control the pandemic.
“Clearly, we are not in total control right now,” Anthony Fauci said. “I would not be surprised if it goes up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”
He warned that a jump in infections in Texas and Florida was driving the daily national total to more than 40,000, and they need to be tamped down quickly to avoid dangerous surges elsewhere in the country, adding that the final death toll could be “very disturbing.”
His comments came as some states reimposed measures only recently lifted, while reports of new clusters in several countries including Australia, Germany and Japan fueled worries of a second wave.
Still, there was a feeling that a return to widespread lockdowns seen earlier in the year was unlikely. With AFP