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Stock market retreats again; URC advances

The stock market declined Wednesday as investors started consolidating their portfolio after recent gains that sent the benchmark index above 7,000 points.

The Philippines Stock Exchange Index dropped 73.76 points, or 1 percent, to 6,927.75 on a value turnover of P15.5 billion. Losers overwhelmed gainers, 148 to 69, with 46 issues unchanged.

Property developer Robinsons Land Corp. fell 5.6 percent to P17, while parent JG Summit Holdings Inc. decreased 5.2 percent to P67.

International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator and owned by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., dropped 4.1 percent to P116.80, but Universal Robina Corp., the largest snack food maker, rose 4.2 percent to P148.

Meanwhile, most Asian stocks rose Thursday—continuing this month’s vaccine-fueled markets rally—but traders moved cautiously, with an eye on virus infections across the globe that are forcing governments to impose containment measures.

With at least three inoculations in the pipeline and possibly rolled out within weeks, the general mood on trading floors is upbeat for 2021, but a fresh batch of data out of the US underlined the immediate impact of the disease and the long road ahead for economies.

And notes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting warned that the country’s recovery would be tougher without a new stimulus package.

Official figures showed applications for jobless aid rose for a second straight week as businesses were hit by a sharp increase in new infections and deaths that have led several major cities including New York and Los Angeles to close bars and restaurants.

The readings gave traders a dose of reality following weeks of fervent buying in reaction to vaccine successes and Joe Biden’s election victory.  

“The data... suggested that the US recovery was slowing as government support programs ran off, and that the massive spike in Covid-19 is infecting the real economy,” said OANDA’s Jeffrey Halley.

The crisis elsewhere was laid bare as Britain warned it expects to suffer its heaviest annual slump in more than three centuries, with the economy tipped to shrink 11.3 percent in 2020.  

The Dow and S&P 500 ended lower Wednesday after hitting records the day before, while the Nasdaq hit a new all-time high as tech firms—which have benefited from people being forced to stay home—surged.

Asian markets drifted in the morning but moved broadly positive as the day wore on.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Mumbai, Taipei, Jakarta and Bangkok rose but there were losses in Sydney, Singapore and Wellington.

Still, analysts were positive about the outlook, with UBS Global Wealth Management’s Xi Qiao saying: “We believe the market rally can continue from here powered by all the positive vaccine news, more political clarity with a peaceful White House transition and with more stimulus to come.

“We are already seeing a strong rotation into cyclical and reopening trades with the vaccine news and we expect this trend to continue.”  

But Fed officials are worried the US economy faces continued pain unless lawmakers agree on a new rescue deal, with minutes showing they said no action would mean “significant hardships for a number of households.” With AFP

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