Share prices rose for the third straight day Wednesday in step with the rest of Asia as optimism over the economic recovery and coronavirus vaccinations plays off against concerns about the fast-spreading Delta variant and China’s regulatory crackdown.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 25.15 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,585.21 on a value turnover of P4.6 billion. Gainers outnumbered losers, 115 to 73, with 46 issues unchanged.
International Container Terminal Services Inc. of tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., the biggest port operator, climbed 4.6 percent to P174.80, while DITO CME Holdings Corp., the third major mobile phone company, rallied 5 percent to P7.35.
Major noodle maker Monde Nissin Corp. climbed 3.9 percent to P15.58, while Nickel Asia Corp., the largest nickel miner, rose 2.6 percent to P6.20.
Meanwhile, Asian equities mostly rose Wednesday, in line with the recent volatility in global markets.
A forecast-beating corporate earnings season and constant reassurance from the US Federal Reserve over its ultra-loose monetary policies have also been unable to soothe fears that the outlook might not be as rosy as initially hoped, with sentiment changing day by day.
Still, in the morning Wednesday was an up day following a record close for the S&P 500 on Wall Street and helped by some bargain-hunting.
Hong Kong was among the main winners, though investors continue to fret over China’s crackdown on a range of sectors including tech, private tuition, and property.
There is a fear that gaming firms could be next after a state-run media article described online games as “spiritual opium”.
Tencent, which has been hammered by the latest government moves, rose more than two percent Wednesday on bargain-buying though it is still down more than 20 percent since the start of last month.
Alibaba, another firm caught in the regulatory sweep, slipped slightly after announcing revenues fell short of forecasts for the first time in two years.
Hong Kong-listed casino firms including Galaxy Entertainment and Wynn Macau—already battered by the pandemic—tumbled around eight percent after Macau ordered compulsory coronavirus testing for all residents as a family of four was found to be carrying the Delta variant, breaking the city’s record of more than 16 months virus-free.
Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Wellington, Mumbai, and Jakarta all rose, though Tokyo and Bangkok fell.
The spread of the Delta virus variant remains the major stumbling block to the recovery as a sharp spike in new infections around the world forces some governments to reimpose strict containment measures.
And the main worry for markets is China, where millions of people have been put into lockdown and officials have announced travel restrictions in some areas.
The country had brought domestic cases down to virtually zero after the disease first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, but it is now facing its worst outbreak in months. With AFP