PH, Asian stock markets drop

The stock market fell Monday in step with the rest of Asia despite massive economic stimulus efforts worldwide, with investors spooked by the relentless march of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index shed 35.39 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,743.37 on a value turnover of P5.7 billion. Losers overwhelmed gainers, 133 to 55, with 35 issues unchanged.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is into toll roads, water and electricity distribution, hospitals and infrastructure, sank 14.9 percent to P2.28, while Security Bank Corp., the sixth-biggest lender in terms of assets, slumped 10.4 percent to P103.

Megaworld Corp., the largest lessor of office spaces, tumbled 9.6 percent to P1.89, but Globe Telecom Inc., the seond-biigest telecommunciations firm, advanced 11.6 percent to P1,850.

The rest of Asian stocks declined. The negative mood was fuelled by the failure of US lawmakers to agree on a trillion-dollar emergency package to help the reeling American economy.

The global death toll from the virus has surged past 14,700, with nearly a billion people confined and non-essential businesses shut in dozens of countries and growing fears about a recession.

Wellington nosedived 7.6 percent as New Zealand announced a four-week lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was down 4.4 percent, Sydney dropped 5.6 percent, Shanghai shed 2.3 percent and Taiwan was off by 3.7 percent.

Singapore tanked 7.5 percent, Jakarta lost 3.8 percent and Seoul was down 5.5 percent.

Tokyo was the exception, closing two percent higher as a cheaper yen against the dollar boosted Japanese markets.

Nikkei heayweight SoftBank Group said it would sell up to $41 billion in assets to finance a stock buyback, reduce debt and increase its cash reserves, boosting its share price by more than 18 percent in the last hour of trade.

Economists and analysts are now worried about how deep the impact of the pandemic could be on the global economy, with social distancing measures and lockdowns dealing serious blows to many industries.

Airlines have been hit particularly hard, with isolation measures shutting down routes and grounding fleets worldwide.

Long-haul giant Emirates announced a two-week suspension of all passenger flights, following a UAE government directive.

Singapore Airlines, meanwhile, said it would ground most of its fleet until the end of April. The carrier said it was facing the greatest challenge in its existence.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase have all forecast a drop in US GDP, according to Bloomberg News.

“These rapid and unprecedented downgrades illustrate just how fast we’ve moved from a brief health scare to a full-blown global recession,” said Stephen Innes, global chief markets strategist at AxiCorp.

Constance Hunter, chief economist at KPMG, agreed, telling Bloomberg TV: “It’s a health crisis that’s started morphing into a financial crisis.”

US senators failed to agree on a trillion-dollar proposal to rescue the American economy on Sunday, as Democrats said the Republican plan failed to provide sufficient protection to millions of workers or shore up the critically under-equipped healthcare system. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippines Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippines Stock Exchange Index , PSEi , Asian stock market , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19 ,
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