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Stocks tumble; BPI, Aboitiz drop

Stocks slumped Friday on continued profit taking, with investors worried over a frightening surge in virus infections across the United States and Europe, the Philippines’ two major trading partners.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index plunged 136.29 points, or 2 percent, to 6,791.46 on a value turnover of P27.6 billion. Gainers, however, beat losers, 129 to 75, with 50 issues unchanged after some investors picked up second-tier issues.

Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-biggest lender in terms of assets, fell 5.7 percent to P83, while SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group declined 5.4 percent to P970.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures of the Abotiz Group dropped 4.7 percent to P42.20, while unit Aboitiz Power Corp. dipped 4.4 percent to P25.75.

The rest of Asian markets maintained their upward momentum Friday, heading into the weekend on a strong note with investors continuing to take heart from the prospect of vaccines being rolled out in the next few weeks.

With US markets closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, Asian markets were subdued in early trade but found their mojo as the day wore on.

Hong Kong extended its rally into a sixth day and Shanghai rose more than one percent, while there were also gains in Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei, Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta.

But Sydney dropped 0.5 percent after China said it would impose anti-dumping measures on Australian wine, in a further ramping up of tensions between the two countries.

Hopes are high that with at least three inoculations in the pipeline, life can begin to get back to normal next year and give a much-needed boost to the battered global economy.

News of the vaccine successes have sent stocks powering higher, led by airlines and other tourism-linked companies.

Adding to the upbeat mood are easing worries about US political uncertainty after Joe Biden’s election win and Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday that while he thinks the vote was rigged he will step aside if the Electoral College hands him defeat next month.

However, the rally has been kept in check by a frightening surge in virus infections, with some other countries including Japan and South Korea now seeing spikes.

There are also worries about a further acceleration in the US after millions ignored official advice and traveled across the country to celebrate Thanksgiving, with top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci saying he expected to see “a surge superimposed upon a surge” after the holiday.

The increase in new cases has forced governments to reimpose lockdowns and other economically painful containment measures that have raised concerns about the already stuttering recovery. 

“Vaccine optimism continues to stir momentum going into December that could confront a slowing economy and liquidity difficulties,” said Ben Emons at Medley Global Advisors.

Investors were also given a slight jolt after British pharma giant AstraZeneca said its vaccine, one of the three preparing to be authorized, needed further research after questions emerged over how much protection it offers. With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Aboitiz Equity Ventures , Abotiz Group , Bank of the Philippine Islands , Ben Emons
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