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Stocks rise slightly; PLDT, Aboitiz Equity lead gainers

The stock market rose slightly Tuesday on bargain hunting along with the rest of Asia, with investors nervously keeping an eye on troubled property giant China Evergrande after fears over its possible collapse sparked a rout across global markets.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 23.30 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,881.20 on a value turnover of P7 billion. Losers, however, outnumbered gainers, 116 to 64, with 51 issues unchanged.

PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, surged 6 percent to P1,600, while LT Group Inc. of airline and tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan climbed 5 percent to P10.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. of the Aboitiz Group advanced 7.2 percent to P54.20, but unit Aboitiz Power Corp. fell 4 percent to P32.10.

The rest of Asian equities mostly rose on Tuesday. The crisis at one of China’s biggest developers added to an already downbeat mood on trading floors, where dealers were also juggling an expected tightening of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, rising COVID infections and a slowing global recovery.

Meanwhile, a battle in Washington to raise the US debt limit was also fueling concern that the government could miss payments on its debt obligations, sparking a disastrous default.

Hong Kong-listed real estate firms—which took the brunt of the selling on Monday, tanking more than 10 percent—managed to squeeze out gains in the morning as bargain-buyers moved in. But there remains a lot of uncertainty.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, which plunged more than three percent Monday, added 0.5 percent.  Shanghai was closed for a holiday.

Henderson Land, New World Development, Sino Land and Sun Hung Kai Properties all rose, while Macau-based casino operators also enjoyed gains after last week’s crash fuelled by plans for a government crackdown on the industry. But Evergrande, which has fallen more than 80 percent this year alone, ended further in negative territory.

Sydney, Singapore, Mumbai and Bangkok also rose, though Jakarta dipped and Wellington was barely moved. 

But Tokyo lost more than two percent as traders returning from a long weekend played catch-up with Monday’s global sell-off.  

Attention is on what happens next in the Evergrande saga, with the firm—wallowing in debts of more than $300 billion—due to pay interest to bondholders on two notes on Thursday. Most experts expect the firm to default on the payments, though it does have a 30-day grace period afterwards.

Still, analysts said the nervousness on markets comes from a lack of clarity from leaders in China, which was observing a national holiday on Monday and Tuesday.

Evergrande’s woes have been exacerbated by strict new rules introduced by Beijing to rein in runaway debt at the country’s developers, essentially cutting off the firm’s ability to finish its properties and make cash.

“Even though most people don’t expect Evergrande to collapse all of a sudden, the silence and a lack of major actions from policymakers is making everyone panic,” said Ding Shuang at Standard Chartered.

“I expect China to at least offer some verbal support soon to stabilize sentiment.” With AFP

Topics: stocks , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PLDT Inc. , LT Group Inc.
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