Market climbs, cheers declining COVID cases

Stocks rose for the sixth straight day as investors cheered declining COVID-19 cases in the country and the further reopening of the economy.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 14.64 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,311.72 on a value turnover of P6.2 billion. Gainers beat losers, 105 to 85, with 55 issues unchanged.

Noodles maker Monde Nissin Corp. climbed 5.9 percent to P16.44, while LT Group Inc. of airline and tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan advanced 5.2 percent to P10.42.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. of the Aboitiz Group gained 3.5 percent at P51.25, but fiber broadband services provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. fell 5.6 percent to P31.

The rest of Asian markets were mixed Thursday as investors weighed more positive earnings against ongoing concerns about inflation and central bank tapering, while Hong Kong dropped along with Evergrande after the property giant resumed trading.

Surging global prices have sent shivers through trading floors for much of this year as central banks have been forced to tighten their ultra-loose, pandemic-era monetary policies, but a string of broadly on-target or forecast-beating corporate reports have provided a much-needed salve.

The Dow and S&P 500 closed within spitting distance of record highs after the latest results, while dealers brushed off a Federal Reserve summary of the economy that said transport constraints and shortage of goods had led to “significantly elevated prices” in most areas of the United States, slowing growth.

The advances filtered through to most of Asia in the morning but some markets were unable to maintain momentum. Sydney, Wellington, Taipei, and Bangkok eked out minor gains.

But Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Mumbai and Jakarta all fell into the red with the news about China Evergrande casting a pall over proceedings.

The property giant resumed trading after a more than two-week suspension to say the planned sale of its property services arm had collapsed.

It also warned it could not guarantee it would meet its debt obligations, days before a 30-day grace period on an offshore bond ends at the weekend, raising expectations it will default and spark a massive restructuring.

Shares in the embattled company tanked more than 13 percent in the afternoon and Justin Tang, of United First Partners, warned that “without the infusion of cash from the sale” of assets, the firm’s share price “is going to take the elevator down.”

There had been hope that the $2.58-billion sale of a 50.1-percent stake in Evergrande Property Services Group would provide it with much-needed capital to service its debts.

Shares in the services arm fell more than four percent, while Hopson Development—the firm that had been in the buy-out talks—rose more than five percent.

The news will again raise worries about the impact on the wider economy, with the property sector accounting for a huge chunk of China’s gross domestic product and several other developers recently failing to meet debt payment deadlines.

Data this week showed the country’s economic growth was slower than expected in the third quarter.

Still, top officials at the People’s Bank of China and regulators have insisted the fallout from the crisis could be contained. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , PSEi , global stock market , COVID-19
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