Market up again; URC, ICTSI lead gainers

The stock market rose Wednesday on continued bargain hunting, with select issues posting gains after recent sharp losses.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 50.66 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,497.01 points on a value turnover of P21.3 billion. Losers, however, edged gainers, 98 to 90, with 64 issues unchanged.

Universal Robina Corp. of the Gokongwei Group, the biggest snack food maker, advanced 4.1 percent to P127, while International Container Terminal Services Inc., the largest port operator and owned by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., climbed 2.5 percent to P126.50.

PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, increased 2 percent to P1,250, but Jollibee Foods Corp., the largest fast-food chain, fell 2.3 percent to P176.90.

The rest of Asian markets extended losses Wednesday with virus and vaccine fears returning to haunt investors as Europe faces fresh infection spikes and lockdowns that could knock the economic recovery off course.

After several weeks of worrying that an expected resurgence in global growth will fan inflation and force central banks to hike interest rates, the fear of another COVID-19 wave has returned.

Europe’s two biggest economies, Germany and France, as well as a number of other countries have been forced to impose new restrictions to battle the disease, at the same time as they struggle to get their vaccination programs rolling properly.

“COVID-19 cases continue to resurge in continental Europe, so their double-dip recession persists as they continue to argue about vaccinations and why they are lagging behind the US and Britain in vaccination rates,” said markets strategist Louis Navellier.

Hong Kong was among the biggest losers, dropping two percent after news that the government had suspended its Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine program over concerns about packaging, dealing a blow to the city’s already slow inoculation programme.

Nearby Macau also halted those jabs. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index has now fallen into a correction having lost more that 10 percent from its recent high.

Airlines and property firms tumbled as they stand to lose most from a delay to the city’s economic recovery. Fosun Pharmaceutical, the Chinese firm distributing the BioNTech shot in China, slipped nearly five percent. With 

Tokyo also shed two percent, while Shanghai, Mumbai, and Jakarta each lost more than one percent, with Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Bangkok, and Wellington also well in the red. Sydney, however.

“Concerns regarding the strength of the post-pandemic recovery with cases remaining elevated in many jurisdictions and fresh mobility restrictions continue to rock the boat,” said Axi strategist Stephen Innes.

“The pattern, in general, has been for the markets to pare back on initial lockdown announcements but then to recover, though there are worries at the moment about a lagged rise in US Covid cases to follow Europe’s.”

US Treasury yields were lower as investors sought out the safe-haven—yields go in the opposite direction to prices—providing respite from a recent increase that had led to worries about a hike in interest rates from the record lows that have supported a year-long equity rally. With AFP

Topics: stock market , Universal Robina Corp. , Enrique Razon Jr. , International Container Terminal Services Inc.
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