Stocks retreat; Puregold surges

The stock market fell Friday on profit-taking in another volatile trading, with investors worried over the rising COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index slumped 134.96 points, or 2.5 percent, to 5,266.62 on a value turnover of nearly P8 billion. Gainers, however, edged losers, 101 to 90, with 36 issues unchanged.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 707 Thursday, with 45 deaths and 28 recoveries.

BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender in terms of assets, dropped 11.8 percent to P102.10, while major power generator Aboitiz Power Corp. of the Aboitiz Group declined 13.3 percent to P26.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. of the Sy Group fell 8.1 percent to P28.50, but Puregold Price Club Inc. of retail tycoon Lucio Co surged 14 percent to P39.

The rest of Asian equities mostly rose and the dollar extended losses Friday, with traders buoyed by government and central bank pledges to prop up the global economy as the coronavirus sends countries into lockdown.

Despite the painful toll the disease is inflicting on lives and economies, markets are on course to end the week with healthy gains following a barrage of stimulus and monetary easing.

While the number of people contracting COVID-19 continues to escalate—the US now has more cases than China and Italy—the support measures, which the G20 said amounted to $5 trillion, have given traders hope that the expected recession will be sharp but short.

Even news that a record 3.3 million Americans claimed unemployment for the first time last wee –smashing the previous all-time high of 695,000 set in 1982—was unable to derail a rally in New York with the Dow and S&P 500 up more than six percent.

The S&P 500 has now recorded its quickest three-day advance in nine decades, according to Bloomberg News.

And Dan Skelly at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management said stocks, which have been clobbered in recent weeks, were showing signs of forming a bottom.

“While we do believe this will be possibly the sharpest recession in history, it may also be the shortest, so there is room to be optimistic for a second-half rebound,” he told Bloomberg TV.

The advance in Wall Street extended into Asia, where Tokyo finished 3.9 percent higher, while Hong Kong rose one percent and Seoul jumped 1.9 percent.

Shanghai ended up 0.3 percent, Singapore put on more than two percent and Mumbai added 0.5 percent following a deep interest rate cut by the Indian central bank. Bangkok added more than two percent and Jakarta soared nearly eight percent.

However, not all markets were able to sustain the rally and Sydney went into the weekend on the back of a 5.3 percent loss, while Wellington and Taipei were also down after reversing early gains.

Support has come from a $2-trillion stimulus bill that is making its way through Congress and is expected to be passed by the House of Representatives Friday before being signed off by Donald Trump.

“For investors, this package should be good for US equities and other risk assets as it should leave US corporations in a better position to weather the economic downturn and thrive in the rebound,” said David Kelly, at JP Morgan Asset Management. With AFP

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