Market drops; GMA Network climbs

The stock market slipped Monday on worries over the surge in local COVID-19 cases and on prospects  the lockdown in Metro Manila will not be eased soon.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 24.81 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,172.57 on a value turnover of P4.6 billion. Losers overwhelmed gainers, 136 to 69, with 34 issues unchanged.

The Department of Health reported total infections in the Philippines reached 56,259 on Sunday against recoveries of 16,046 and deaths of 1,534.

Holcim Philippines Inc. dropped 6.9 percent to P5.81, while major energy producer First Gen Corp. shed 5 percent to P23.70.

BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender in terms of assets, declined 3.4 percent to P91.50, but broadcasting firm GMA Network Inc. advanced 10.3 percent to P6.65.

The rest of Asian markets rose Monday, recovering some of the losses at the end of last week, as investors followed a strong performance on Wall Street fueled by hopes for a coronavirus vaccine, though a spike in infections around the world capped gains.

Trillions of dollars in government support is keeping equities well supported but confidence is being strangled by the spread of the disease, with an explosion of cases forcing some countries to reimpose containment measures just weeks after easing lockdowns.

Traders are also looking ahead to the corporate earnings season, which will reveal how companies fared during the second quarter, when economy-sapping lockdowns were imposed around the planet.

Tokyo led the gains, adding more than two percent, while Shanghai, Seoul and Taipei were all more than one percent higher.

Hong Kong added 0.8 percent and Sydney climbed one percent, with Mumbai 0.3 percent higher. Wellington, Jakarta also rose but Singapore fell.

The advances came after the Dow and S&P 500 surged more than one percent in New York and the tech-heavy Nasdaq chalked up another record.

Investors welcomed comments from the head of   German biotech firm BioNTech who said a vaccine candidate would be ready for regulatory review by the end of the year, while Gilead Sciences said its drug remdesivir had been relatively effective in clinical trials.

“Ongoing grim US COVID-19 infection news continues to be summarily ignored in favor of ongoing optimism regarding the timeline for the discovery and rapid roll-out of an effective vaccine... and/or more policy support for asset prices in the US economy,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.

Still, the pandemic’s rapid spread around the planet remains a concern.

The government of Spain’s Catalonia region on Sunday told residents in and around the northeastern town of Lerida to go back into home confinement, while South African President Cyril Ramaphosa warned his country faced a “coronavirus storm” that was “far fiercer and more destructive than any we have known before.” 

In the US, Florida recorded 15,299 new cases in a single day, the highest one-day total of any state to date—and more than all the cases yet registered in South Korea.   

And Hong Kong, which had gone weeks with no locally spread cases, is seeing a worrying spike in infections that have led to the imposition of containment measures. 

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange , Department of Health
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