July 15, 2021 at 07:40 pm
Manila Standard Business
Stocks retreated Thursday on another bout of profit taking and fears a spike of COVID-19 infections in neighboring Southeast Asian countries will stunt regional economic growth.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index sank 107.48 points, or 1.6 percent, to 6,727.93 on a value turnover of P4.9 billion. Losers beat gainers, 121 to 70, with 57 issues unchanged.
Universal Robina Corp. of the Gokongwei Group, the biggest snack food maker, fell 4 percent to P135.20, while Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. of the Aboitiz Group, dropped 3.2 percent to P40.
International Container Terminal Services Inc., the largest port operator and owned by tycoon Enriquez Razon Jr., declined 2.8 percent to P162.80, while BDO Unibank Inc. of the Sy Group, the biggest lender in terms of assets, slipped 1.8 percent to P109.50.
The rest of Asian markets were mostly higher on Thursday after China released a raft of key data indicating solid but slowing growth while Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said the US central bank would maintain its stimulus until the recovery was well under way.
Asian markets largely welcomed Powell’s remarks and the Chinese figures, with Hong Kong up 0.6 percent and Shanghai closing just over one percent higher. Seoul, Taipei, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta were also in positive territory.
Among the few regional losers, Tokyo closed down 1.2 percent with investors still concerned about the virus situation in Japan while locked-down Sydney also retreated.
China’s growth slowed to 7.9 percent in the second quarter, down from 18.3 percent in the previous three months when the economy roared back to life after last year’s pandemic-enforced shutdown.
The National Bureau of Statistics said the world’s second-largest economy continued to “recover steadily,” but sounded a note of caution over external uncertainties and the uneven domestic economic rebound.
“Efforts are still needed to consolidate the foundation for stable recovery and development,” it added.
In June, industrial output rose 8.3 percent and retail sales grew 12.1 percent, both edging down from the month before.
“The overall growth perspective is still pretty resilient in terms of industrial production and retail sales,” Helen Qiao, chief Greater China economist at Bank of America Securities, told Bloomberg Television.
The latest figures suggest China should be on track to meet its growth target of more than six percent this year.
“The jury remains out on how well the Chinese economy is actually doing, with retail sales showing signs of gaining traction, although all of this year’s economic numbers have to be set in the context of an enormous skew, due to the shock of the pandemic lockdowns a year ago,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Investors were also digesting dovish comments by Powell, who acknowledged inflation was stronger than the US central bank would like but said the economy still had “a long way to go.” With AFP