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Stock market rises; gold eases from record

Share prices rebounded Tuesday on bargain hunting, while the rest of Asian equity markets struggled to hold on to gains with fears about the coronavirus pandemic mounting.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 66.17 points, or 1.1 percent to 5,927.11 on a value turnover of P4.3 billion. Gainers and losers were even at 97 each, with 45 issues unchanged.

Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-biggest lender in terms of assets, advanced 4.9 percent to P68.20, while Nickel Asia Corp., the largest nickel producer, climbed  5.8 percent to P2.57.

SM Prime Holdings of the Sy Group added 2.6 percent to P31.10, but Manila Water Co. Inc., a unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., fell 3.5 percent to P12.16.

Gold, meanwhile, briefly chalked up another record Tuesday before easing later in the day as the dollar clawed back earlier losses.

With worrying new spikes in COVID-19 in Asia and Europe―on top of the already high new US cases–forcing governments to impose strict containment measures, the global economic outlook remains clouded, putting the brakes on a months-long stocks rally.

All three main indexes on Wall Street ended higher.

Hong Kong gained 0.4 percent and Shanghai ended up 0.7 percent, while Seoul jumped 1.8 percent and Mumbai put on 0.9 percent.

Taipei was marginally lower a day after hitting a record high, though market heavyweight chipmaker TSMC rose 10 percent for a second day, putting it among the top 10 biggest firms in the world briefly before it pared the gains.

Tokyo finished down 0.3 percent and Sydney shed 0.4 percent with Jakarta and Wellington also in the red.

The virus uncertainty descending on trading floors, combined with China-US tensions, sent gold soaring nearly 30 percent and on Tuesday it hit another record of $1,981.27, smashing the previous day’s all-time high, but it later pared the advance to sit slightly lower for the day.

But observers say $2,000 could be broken as early as this week, with focus on the Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting, which is tipped to see it unveil more easing measures to support the world’s top economy.

US second-quarter economic growth data is also due this week, and a disappointing reading on what is expected to be a historic contraction could fuel further dollar weakness.

The rush for bullion has also dragged silver to a seven-year high above $26 an ounce before that also edged back.

“There seems to be enough momentum in the US money supply to actually push gold higher,” Fat Prophets analyst David Lennox said.

“As COVID-19 continues to ravage the economy, there’s probably more stimulatory action to come. As the US dollar weakens, obviously gold will improve, but it’s more a matter of the acceleration of US money supply, and that’s caused by governments obviously throwing money into the economy.”

There are hopes US lawmakers can hammer out a new economy-boosting stimulus program as their previous multi-trillion-dollar package begins to dry up.

After an extended period of haggling with the White House, Republicans eventually unveiled a $1-trillion scheme that slashes unemployment benefits by two-thirds. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippines Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippines Stock Exchange Index , PSEi , Asian stock market , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19
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