Market closes flat; SM climbs

The stock market closed nearly flat Tuesday in mixed trading, with geopolitical concerns returning after Beijing fired missiles into the South China Sea and the US sanctioned several Chinese firms linked to the disputed region.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index shed 9.78 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,921.55 on a value turnover of P17.4 billion. Gainers, however, beat losers, 98 to 86, with 57 issues unchanged.

SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group fell 1.6 percent to P873, while International Container

Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator and owned by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., declined 1.4 percent to P105.

Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-biggest lender in terms of assets, however, advanced 4.3 percent to P65.70, while major cement producer Cemex Holdings Philippines Inc. surged 11 percent to P1.51.

Th rest of Asian markets were mixed Thursday ahead of a key policy speech by Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell.

A fourth successive record on Wall Street was not enough to stoke a rally in Asia, with a fresh flare-up in virus cases in the region keeping dealers grounded.

The mood in Asia was more downbeat compared with earlier in the week with Bloomberg News reporting China had fired four ballistic missiles as part of a military exercise by the People’s Liberation Army, a day after a US spy plane carried out a flyover.

The region is one of a number of issues that have seen China-US tensions spike in recent months. In July, Washington declared Beijing’s pursuit of territory and resources there illegal, explicitly backing the territorial claims of Southeast Asian countries against China.

And on Wednesday it imposed sanctions and restrictions on 24 Chinese companies and associated officials for taking part in building artificial islands in the disputed waters.

The US Commerce Department said the firms “enabled China to construct and militarize disputed outposts in the South China Sea.”

Hong Kong lost 0.8 percent with HSBC taking a hit after being slammed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over reports it had frozen access to credit card and bank accounts for executives of independent media group Next Media. 

Tokyo lost 0.4 percent and Seoul retreated more than one percent while Taipei and Singapore and were also in the red.

But Shanghai, Mumbai and Bangkok were up 0.6 percent, Sydney added 0.2 percent and Jakarta edged 0.1 percent higher.

Wellington trade was halted in the morning after the exchange was hit by a third cyber attack in as many days, forcing operator NZX to carry out a probe.

With earnings season gone and China-US trade talks now settled for now—despite ongoing tensions–the next point of focus is Powell’s presentation Thursday at the virtual meeting of global central bankers, in which he is expected to outline the Fed’s plans for monetary policy.

The bank has provided crucial support worth trillions of dollars to the world’s top economy during the virus crisis, helping stocks bounce back from their March troughs. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PSEi , Global stock market , SM Investments Corp.
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