Market retreats; ABS-CBN jumps

The stock market fell Monday on profit taking, bucking the rally in the rest of Asia following reports suggesting Donald Trump’s health is improving after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index slipped 25.47 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,973.93 on a thin value turnover of P2.2 billion. Losers beat gainers, 105 to 74, with 42 issues unchanged.

PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, declined 1.4 percent to P1,345, while major cement maker Cemex Holdings Philippines Inc. dropped 1.3 percent to P1.53.

ABS-CBN Corp. of the Lopez Group jumped 43.9 percent to P10.16, while Lopez Holdings Corp. surged 16.7 percent to P2.65.

The rest of Asian markets rose, with traders also cheered by signs that US lawmakers were edging towards agreement on a new stimulus package.

Hong Kong, which reopened after a four-day weekend, rallied more than one percent along with Tokyo, Mumbai and Seoul, while Sydney piled on more than two percent and Singapore 0.5 percent.

Taipei, Bangkok, Jakarta and Wellington were also in the green, while Shanghai remained closed for a public holiday.

World equities went into reverse Friday after the White House announced the president’s diagnosis, which fanned fresh uncertainty just a month before the November 3 election, with some commentators questioning whether the vote would actually take place.

But after spending the weekend in hospital—with conflicting reports about the severity of his condition—Trump’s medical team said he had “continued to improve” and could return home as early as Monday.

Analysts said the episode could help jolt congressional leaders to up their efforts for a second economic rescue package, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying: “This kind of changes the dynamic.”

Trump urged lawmakers reach a deal, tweeting from his hospital bed: “OUR GREAT USA WANTS AND NEEDS A STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE! Thank You!”

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have held a series of talks aimed at matching up their spending plans, with the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion proposal around $600 billion more than what Republicans are willing to stump up.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has often been hostile to most Democrat offers, offered a hopeful tone Friday, saying: “I think we’re closer to getting an outcome.”

The need for a fresh package was highlighted Friday by data showing the US economy created fewer jobs than expected in September, highlighting the recovery enjoyed through summer was stuttering. 

“The dramatic turn of events may be a catalyst for a stimulus agreement—or it may not; we wait for bills to be put to Congress and votes to be taken,” wrote Julian Emanuel of BTIG.

“With key economic data extending its run of disappointments versus expectations and high-profile corporate  layoffs, additional aid would seem imperative.”

Observers said markets are largely pricing in a Joe Biden victory over Trump next month and a clean sweep for Democrats in House and Senate polls, despite expectations of higher taxes and regulations. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippines Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippines Stock Exchange Index , PSEi , Global stock market , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19 , ABS-CBN Corp.
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