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Market ends flat; NOW advances

The stock market virtually closed flat Wednesday on lack of catalyst that could push the benchmark index past the 6,000-point mark.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index just added 2.07 points, or 0.03 percent, to 5,925.30 on a value turnover of nearly P6 billion. Gainers beat losers, 101 to 80, with 60 issues unchanged.

NOW Corp. of the Velarde family, the fourth major telecommunications firm, advanced 10.6 percent to P5.21, while Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is into toll roads, water and electricity distribution, hospitals and infrastructure, climbed 5 percent to P3.95.

DITO CME Holdings Corp., the third major telecom company of businessman Dennis Uy, rose 4.2 percent to P6.21, but International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator owned by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., fell 2.3 percent to P116.90.

The rest of Asian markets mostly fell again Wednesday as virus concerns returned to the fore with several countries reimposing lockdown measures to fight a surge in new infections and the halting of two trials denting hopes for a vaccine or treatment being developed anytime soon.

All three main indexes on Wall Street fell and Asia followed suit.

Shanghai dropped 0.6 percent and Hong Kong retreated 0.1 percent as investors in the city returned from a day off forced by a typhoon.

The was little movement after a speech by Xi Jinping in which he reaffirmed a commitment to open up the Chinese economy.

Sydney, Seoul and Taipei all turned negative. Singapore shed 0.7 percent after data showed the city-state’s economy contracted seven percent in the third quarter.

Still, Tokyo, Wellington and Jakarta edged up.

Analysts said investors had also by now priced in any expectations for Democratic sweep of the White House and Congress in next month’s elections that many expect will see a ramped-up new stimulus for the beleaguered US economy.

Fears for the economic recovery have mounted in recent weeks because of a Covid-19 resurgence, particularly in Europe where governments are resorting to new controls while trying to avoid the devastating nationwide lockdowns of March and April.

But the Netherlands is set to go into “partial lockdown” later Wednesday, with all bars, cafes and restaurants to close for at least two weeks, while France is expected to announce tighter restrictions and faster testing that some media speculated could see evening curfews in Paris.

And in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose country has the highest death toll in Europe, on Monday ordered pubs in Liverpool to shut as part of a new strategy, while others face fresh containment measures.

The moves come as pharmaceuticals giant Johnson & Johnson said it had temporarily halted its vaccine trial after a participant fell sick, which was followed by news that Eli Lilly had also paused testing of an antibody treatment out of safety concerns.

“Anxiety over second-wave resurgence of Covid-19, which is now apparent in many major economies, is... clouding the view where the question remains how activity curtailment measures feed through into economic and mobility activity,” said Axi strategist Stephen Innes.

“And on that front, risk has also deteriorated as participants mulled the implications of another vaccine trial setback.” With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , PSEi , global stock market , NOW Corp.
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