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Stocks up; Ayala Land, URC gain

The stock market rose Wednesday on thin trading, with investors keeping an eye on rising COVID-19 cases and the two-day meeting of the US Federal Reserve.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 39.16 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,966.27 on a value turnover of P3.6 billion. Losers, however, beat gainers, 103 to 74, with 47 issues unchanged. 

Robinsons Land Corp. of the Gokongwei Group advanced 6 percent to 16, while sister unit Universal Robina Corp., the biggest snack food maker, climbed 3.8 percent to P124.40.

Major property developer Ayala Land Inc. increased 3.6 percent to P33.25, but Nickel Asia Corp., the largest nickel miner, fell 5.8 percent to P2.42

The rest of Asian markets fluctuated Wednesday, with investors hoping the Federal Reserve will pledge to extend its dovish monetary policy, while lawmakers are struggling to hammer out a much-needed new stimulus package.

Gold prices held steady after hitting record highs for two straight days, though observers say ongoing uncertainty over the spread of the coronavirus, a weaker dollar and geopolitical worries could soon push the metal above $2,000.

Shanghai led gainers, adding more than two percent, while Hong Kong and Seoul each gained 0.3 percent. Wellington was also higher.

But Tokyo ended more than one percent down on a stronger yen, which hurts Japanese exporters, while Fitch lowered the outlook on Japan’s sovereign credit rating to negative from stable, but kept the actual rating unchanged, following a similar move by S&P Global ratings last month.

Sydney, Singapore, Jakarta and Mumbai each lost 0.2 percent, while there were also slips in Taipei and Bangkok.

With the COVID-19 pandemic showing little sign of being fully controlled until a vaccine is created, economic recoveries and a months-long global markets rally are sputtering, putting pressure on governments and central banks to add to their already monumental financial support.

The Federal Reserve concludes its latest policy meeting later in the day, and while it is not expected to announce any new measures, there are hopes it will offer new guarantees that it will keep the stimulus in place for an extended period.

The bank dropped interest rates to zero in the early days of the pandemic, and said they will stay there until the recovery is firmly in place, while it has also flooded the financial system with cash and constructed a web of loan programs for businesses, as well as state and local governments.

“Today’s outcome is huge for risk as there is no disguising the fact that a lot is riding on the market reaction to the (policy meeting) when it comes to setting the general tone for risk sentiment over the rest of the summer,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp.

“And it is possibly the biggest curtain-warmer to the most critical fourth quarter for stock markets ever.” 

Wall Street provided a weak lead, with traders spooked by below-par earnings from top firms, particularly McDonald’s, which saw a steep drop in profits owing to poor sales.

Analysts said world markets would struggle to build on the strong gains seen since their March bottom. With AFP

Topics: stock market , Robinsons Land Corp. , Universal Robina Corp.
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