Stocks decline; Meralco, Globe Telecom advance

The stock market fell for a third day Friday as investors struggle to reignite the rally that has characterized much of the past six months.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index declined 34.62 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,908.90 on a value turnover of P7.6 billion. Gainers and losers were even at 94 each, with 46 issues unchanged.

SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group dropped 3.6 percent to P872, while Universal Robina Corp., the biggest snack food maker, shed 2.2 percent to P134.

Manila Electric Co., the largest retailer of electricity, however, rose 2.5 percent to P278.60, while Globe Telecom Inc., the second-largest telecommunications firm, 2.4 percent to P2,140.

The rest of Asian were mixed Friday amid a stuttering economic recovery and US lawmakers’ failure to agree on a new stimulus.

With the coronavirus pandemic showing no sign of easing as fresh spikes around the world see the reimposition of containment measures including lockdowns, traders are growing increasingly worried about how long it will take to get back on track.

Shanghai led gains, rising more than two percent, while Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and Mumbai also advanced. Taipei, Bangkok and Jakarta were also slightly higher, though Sydney, Singapore, and Wellington were in the red.

Trillions of dollars in government and central bank cash have provided much-needed support to economies—particularly equity markets—and none more so than in the United States.

And with the first massive rescue package having run its course and Federal Reserve monetary policies such as record-low interest rates having limited effect, pressure is growing on Congress to come up with more help, with the head of the central bank leading the calls.

But there is little hope Republicans and Democrats are anywhere close to reaching a compromise after weeks of bickering.

With nearly 30 million Americans receiving government help, observers said there was growing concern about the impact on the crucial consumer sector that drives the world’s top economy.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday again pledged to press ahead with talks on a new deal, but said Republicans are unwilling to compromise on the size.

“We have a massive problem in our country,” she told reporters, while White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was “not optimistic” Pelosi would want to have a “meaningful” conversation if dialogue resumed.

The standoff continues despite President Donald Trump calling this week for Republicans to increase their proposal.

While the Fed essentially said Wednesday that interest rates would remain low for at least three years, Tapas Strickland at National Australia Bank said it disappointed some.

He added that traders “had expected the Fed to show greater willingness to step in and fill the fiscal void given the US Congress seems unwilling/unable to agree to a new fiscal package.

“The Democratic leadership are still pushing for a larger package (latest being $2.2 trillion), while Republicans are divided with many still strident that any package must be below $1 trillion.” With AFP

Topics: stock market , SM Investments Corp. , economic recovery
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