Stocks mixed on profit-taking


    Share prices ended mixed Thursday as investors took to profit-taking ahead of the long weekend.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) was down 37.82 points to 5,928.45, a 0.63 percent drop.

    The broader all shares index was down 7.97 points to 3,500.27, a 0.23 percent drop.

    Gainers edged losers 114 to 78 with 47 stocks unchanged. Trading turnover reached P5.08 billion.

    The peso closed at 49.15 to the dollar, up from 49.19 on Wednesday. It opened at 49.115 and hit a high fo 49.07 and a low of 49.19. Trading turnover reached $809.55 million.

    SB Equities Inc. said the market traded on the short-noticed long weekend “as investors remained cautious while awaiting further government guidance on future quarantine measures and corporate earnings reports.”

    “After the Federal Reserve expectedly left rates unchanged near zero, the PSEi opened flat but traded modestly weaker for the bulk of the session, finishing on its low on de-risking ahead of the three-day break,” SB Equities said.

    Most actively traded SM Investments Corp. was down P10 to P890. Emperador Inc. was steady at P9.10. Globe Telecom inc. was up P44 to P2,064.  Bank of the Philippine Islands was down P0.80 to P68.20. PLDT Inc. was up P24 to P1,340. BDO Unibank Inc. was down P2.50 to P88.

    Global shares fell on Thursday as the Federal Reserve’s pledge to use all its tools to support the US economy failed to reassure investors uneasy about a stalemate on fiscal support and rising coronavirus cases.

    Europe’s STOXX 600 slipped 0.7 percent on a busy day for earnings. Earlier gains in Asian shares were undone, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan edging down 0.1 percent.

    The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was 0.3 percent lower, ending three days of gains.

    Investors were worried about a surge in virus cases in the United States, along with parts of Europe and Asia. Australia, India, Vietnam, and North Korea were all on high alert.

    On Wednesday, all Fed members voted as expected to leave the target range for short-term interest rates between 0 percent and 0.25 percent, where it has been since March 15, when the virus was beginning to hit the nation.

    The unchanged policy setting together with a pledge the Fed would use its “full range of tools” if needed boosted risk appetite overnight. All three Wall Street indexes closed higher.

    But the Fed was already disappearing in the rear-view mirror on Thursday. Investor focus returned to negotiations over a new coronavirus relief package for the world’s largest economy.

    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that his administration and Democrats in Congress were still “far apart” on a new coronavirus relief bill. A failure to agree risks letting a $600-per-week unemployment benefit lapse when it expires this week.

    “Were that program to expire completely, it’s a meaningful hit to the economy and thus to sentiment and risk appetite,” said James Athey, investment director, Aberdeen Standard Investments.

    “At these equity prices there is absolutely no margin baked in. They are priced for utter perfection. Hence a little unease this morning.”


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