Market falls ahead of Biden’s inauguration

The stock market fell Wednesday on further consolidation ahead of the swearing-in of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the US.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index shed 55.15 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,143.30 on a value turnover of P13.1 billion.mLosers beat gainers, 137 to 91, with 40 issues unchanged.

Abra Mining & Industrial Corp. slumped 22.7 percent to P0.0085, while A shares of Oriental Petroleum and Minerals Corp. sank 30 percent to P0.021.

Magnetite iron miner Apollo Global Capital Inc., however, rose 17.8 percent to P0.43, while AC Energy Corp. added 1.7 percent to P6.70

The rest of Asian investors pushed markets higher again Wednesday as they took heart from comments by Treasury nominee Janet Yellen as she looks to push through the new president’s stimulus proposals.

All three main indexes on Wall Street ended with gains as they returned from a long weekend break, and Asia continued where it left off Tuesday.

Hong Kong saw big gainers again, rallying 0.9 percent with help from a more than nine percent rally in market heavyweight Alibaba after founder Jack Ma made his first public appearance since early November in an online video, ending weeks of speculation about his whereabouts.

The tycoon disappeared from the public eye after being hauled in front of regulators for an October speech critical of China’s outdated financial system.

The advance in Hong Kong came after the index climbed more than three percent in the previous two days thanks to a surge in interest from mainland Chinese investors.

Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Mumbai Jakarta and Wellington were also higher, though Tokyo, Singapore and Taipei edged lower.

The long-running battle on trading floors between long-term recovery hopes and concerns about the immediate virus crisis was being won by the more optimistic outlook, though the disease continues to cast a menacing shadow as several governments keep lockdowns in place.

While all eyes are on Biden’s inauguration, Yellen took center stage Tuesday as she was grilled by senators for her Treasury secretary confirmation hearing.

And she did not disappoint. In comments flagged beforehand, Yellen said that in order to give the world’s top economy the best chance for recovery, lawmakers must pass the new administration’s $1.9-trillion spending package.

“While much of what she had to say was known via disclosure of her prepared testimony to selected media prior to the hearing, markets nevertheless were happy to discount some of the same news twice,” said National Australia Bank’s Ray Attrill.

“Specifically her call that extremely low interest rates provided the justification for the incoming administration to ‘go big’ with its proposed $1.9-trillion COVID-related support.”

Observers said traders also saw it as a key positive that Yellen is a former Federal Reserve head.

“Yellen is a positive,” Mohit Kumar, at Jefferies International, said. “We should have greater cooperation between the Fed and the Treasury, with both the monetary and fiscal policy working together and supportive. This is a good backdrop for risk sentiment.” With AFP

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