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Stock market sinks; DITO and MerryMart lead losers

The stock market slumped Monday along with the rest of Asia on inflation fears, rising COVID-19 cases, and surging world oil prices.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index sank 124.45 points, or 1.8 percent, to 6,756.92 on a value turnover of P9.8 billion. Losers overwhelmed gainers, 201 to 38, with 29 issues unchanged.

MerryMart Consumer Corp., a supermarket chain owned by businessman Edgar Sia II, fell 15.2 percent to P5.19, while DITO CME Holdings Corp., the third major mobil phone company, dropped 8.8 percent to P13.90.

AC Energy Corp., a unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., declined 5.3 percent to P6.76, while BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender in terms of assets, was down 4.3 percent to P106.

The rest of Asian markets mostly fell Monday as persistent inflation fears overshadowed a forecast-busting US jobs report and Senate approval of Joe Biden’s huge stimulus package, while Brent crude broke past $70 for the first time in almost two years after an attack on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Traders were given a stellar lead from Wall Street, where the three main indexes surged following news that the world’s top economy created 379,000 jobs in February, reaffirming the view that it is on track for a strong recovery.

The report came just ahead of senators passing Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue plan, setting it up for the president’s signature by the end of the week.

In another sign that the world economy is getting back on track, China at the weekend released data showing a better-than-expected jump in exports in January and February, suggesting global trade is revving up again after being hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the news added to fears about soaring inflation that could force the Federal Reserve and other central banks to wind back the ultra-loose monetary policies that have been a key driver of a year-long equity market rally.

“The US federal government and the Federal Reserve seemed to have learnt something from their attempts to reheat the economy after the great financial crisis,” said David Kelly at JP Morgan Asset Management.

“The economy is already surprisingly warm and, with the help of very aggressive policy, is likely to heat up quickly from here. However, the critical question remains whether they have the skill and discipline to turn the policy temperature down to a simmer before inflation, and not just the economy, comes to a boil.”

Hong Kong ended 1.9 percent lower while Shanghai closed down 2.3 percent. Tokyo, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei and Jakarta also suffered selling pressure.

However, Sydney, Singapore, Mumbai, and Bangkok all rose.

The losses come as investors also worried that valuations may have run a little too far and were in line for a correction. With AFP

“Profit taking is not over yet, given that the yield continues rising and investors have become cautious,” Jackson Wong, at Amber Hill Capital, said.

While the outlook for the global economy is for a strong rebound from last year’s recession, there is a growing worry about soaring prices, with benchmark US 10-year Treasury bond yields continuing to rise. With AFP

Topics: stock market , COVID-19 , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , MerryMart Consumer Corp.
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