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Profit taking weighs down stocks; BPI, GT Capital up

The stock market retreated Thursday on profit taking as the global rally fueled by vaccine optimism petered owing to the brutal reality of surging infections that are forcing fresh lockdowns and threatening to shock the global economy again.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 54.16 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,997.62on a value turnover of P11.1 billion. Gainers, however, beat losers, 114 to 99, with 60 issues unchanged.

SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group declined 2.3 percent to P1,005, while Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is into toll roads, water and electricity distribution, hospitals and infrastructure, dropped 2.4 percent to P4.15.

GT Capital Holdings Inc. of the Ty Group, however, rose 2.8 percent to P560, while Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-biggest lender in terms of assets, climbed 2.7 percent to P86.70.

Meanwhile, stocks were mixed in Asia on Thursday. While the broad consensus is that 2021 will see a healthy recovery across the world as people are gradually inoculated, traders are focusing on the immediate crisis as the US and Europe suffer a second wave of the killer disease.

Profit-taking and virus worries weighed on some markets with Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Wellington and Taipei all down.

However, others rebounded from earlier losses. Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta all rose.

World markets have enjoyed an impressive run in November thanks to Joe Biden's US election victory and then news that two vaccine candidates had shown to be more than 90 percent effective in late trials.

The announcements lifted hopes that the planet can begin to get back to some form of normality soon.

However, New York's three main indexes took a decisive turn lower in late trade Wednesday when the city's Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would shut schools because of rising infections.

The news realized fears among investors that the soaring number of new cases around the US—the country has registered more than 100,000 every day for two weeks—would force lockdowns similar to those that battered the economy earlier this year.

Key European economies including France, Germany and Britain have already imposed new or partial lockdowns, while other countries around the world including Japan and South Korea have been forced to take new containment action.

"Once again, rising infection rates and lockdown concerns are the market's primary focus," said Axi strategist Stephen Innes.

"Predictably, the US stock market has reacted extremely negatively as traders cut and trim while hedging against this necessary health care move that could be the trigger that sends both the market and the economy back on the Covid-19 doom loop."

He added: "While the vaccine does offer bright green lights at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel just got more cavernous and lengthier."

"Financial markets continue to range nervously, sandwiched between Covid-19 vaccine-driven hopes for the future, and the reality of the here and now," said OANDA's Jeffrey Halley.

"Based on 2020 thus far, though, the financial market's ability to 'look ahead' and divorce itself from the reality of our everyday life will probably win the day." With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange Index , SM Investments Corp , stock market , Bank of the Philippine Islands , GT Capital Holdings Inc , Metro Pacific Investments Corp
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