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Stocks fall; JG Summit and Globe lead gainers

Share prices slipped Friday in mild profit-taking in step with the rest of Asian markets, as investors tracked US stimulus talks with lawmakers appearing to finally be closing on a deal.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 25.22 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,272.80 on a value turnover of P11.9 billion. Gainers and losers were even at 110 each, with 50 issues unchanged.

SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group declined 2.6 percent to P1,065, while unit BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender in terms of assets, dropped 2.5 percent to P112.

JG Summit Holdings Inc. of the Gokongwei Group climbed 3.4 percent to P73.45, while Globe Telecom Inc., the second-largest telecommunications firm, advanced 2.9 percent to P2,100.

The rest of Asian markets struggled Friday to build on the previous day’s rally and a record lead from Wall Street.

After last month’s surge across equity markets, traders in December have been unable to kick on as vaccine optimism and signs of a breakthrough in Washington, as well as in Brexit negotiations, has been offset by frighteningly high coronavirus infection and death rates around the world.

On Capitol Hill, top-level politicians remain locked in discussions for a rescue package they hope to get passed before the end of the year when crucial support measures for Americans run out.

The two sides, in a stalemate for months, were inching towards a deal after a bipartisan group of lawmakers put together a proposal that appeared attractive to each of them.

“I am heartened by our discussions and our progress. I believe all sides are working in good faith toward our shared goal of getting an outcome,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement, noting the package would include direct payments to people.

“We are going to stay right here until we are finished, even if that means working into or through the weekend.”

President Donald Trump also sounded a note of hope, tweeting that “stimulus talks looking very good.”

But top Democratic senator Chuck Schumer remained cautious, saying an agreement was near but adding that “a few final issues must be hammered out.”

All three major US indices ended at record highs, as long-term economic hope overshadowed data showing an unexpected jump in jobless numbers, which followed a report earlier in the week revealing a drop in retail sales.

But Asia was unable to take the cue, with most markets in the red.

Sydney fell more than one percent on concerns about a possible fresh outbreak in the city, while Wellington also dropped more than one percent.

There were losses in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, Mumbai and Singapore, while Seoul was marginally up.

“With trading rooms’ punch clocks getting sounded for the last time this year, a little bit of profit-taking and de-risking ahead of a weekend that might be filled with ‘what ifs’, is not to be unexpected,” said Stephen Innes at Axi. 

“But the risks around Brexit and US stimulus are not binary as the feeling on the Street is it is just a matter of time, so ‘risk’ is unlikely to move too far off-kilter unless the door slams shut on either the US stimulus or Brexit deals.” With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Globe Telecom Inc , BDO Unibank Inc , Chuck Schumer , Mitch McConnell
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