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Stock market declines; Metrobank and Dito rise

The stock market fell slightly Friday for the fourth straight session in another dull trading amid rising infections in Europe and other countries that have seen governments impose partial lockdowns.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index shed 7.14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,838.66 on a thin value turnover of P3.7 billion. Gainers, however, beat losers, 110 to 86, with 44 issues unchanged.

NOW Corp. of the Velarde family declined 4.6 percent to P2.93, while PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, slipped 1 percent to P1,356.

Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. of the Ty Group, the second-largest lender in terms of assets, rose 3 percent to P37.60, while Dito CME Holdings Corp., the third major telecom player, climbed 2.4 percent to P4.20.

The rest of Asian markets were mixed Friday at the end of another torrid week for investors, who are growing increasingly concerned about US lawmakers’ failure to even hold talks on a new stimulus and surging virus infections that are prompting fresh containment measures.

Tokyo ended up 0.5 percent, Sydney piled on 1.5 percent, Mumbai and Jakarta almost two percent and Wellington jumped 0.9 percent. There were also advances in Singapore and Seoul.

But Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and Bangkok were all in negative territory, having given up earlier gains.

There was a sliver of hope Thursday for some movement on Capitol Hill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats had started putting together a $2.4-trillion rescue package and that they were still looking to find an agreement.

At the same time, Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin reiterated that a new deal was still needed, adding: “If Democrats are willing to sit down, I’m willing to sit down any time for bipartisan legislation. Let’s pass something quickly.”

However, the proposal still dwarfs the Republicans’ most recent offer and is also larger than the $1.5-trillion President Donald Trump said he is willing to accept.

While Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell said the economy was performing better than expected for now thanks to income support, he told a congressional committee “it’s likely that additional fiscal support will be needed.”

“The risk is that they’ll go through that money, ultimately, and have to cut back on spending and maybe lose their home,” he said. “That’s the downside risk of no further action.” 

Adding to the problems are heightened hostilities over a replacement for liberal Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died this week.

“The chances of passing another stimulus package appear to be dimming given the Supreme Court nomination is taking away much-needed oxygen, while the Democrats’ latest proposal... is still well above where Republicans want to land,” said National Australia Bank’s Tapas Strickland.

The need for a new deal was highlighted by data showing jobless claims came in more than expected last week as the recovery in the world’s top economy stutters owing to a pick-up in new virus cases. With AFP

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , NOW Corp. , PLDT Inc.
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