Stocks gain; Megaworld climbs

The stock market extended its gains Thursday, buoyed by buying on select issues and on the back of expectations the US is better prepared to deal with a trade war with China.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 16.85 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,350.58 on a value turnover of P5.5 billion. Losers, however, beat gainers, 106 to 84, with 46 issues unchanged.

Megaworld Corp., the biggest lessor of office spaces, advanced 4 percent to P4.65, while Security Bank Corp., the sixth-largest lender in terms of assets, gained 2.4 percent to P207.40.

Conglomerate Ayala Corp. climbed 3 percent to P966, while Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-biggest bank, added 1.7 percent to P70.30.

The rest of Asian markets on Thursday recovered from the previous day’s hammering, oil prices bounced and the dollar extended a rally.

While investors remain on edge about a damaging standoff between the world’s two economic superpowers, there are hopes the two sides will avoid an escalation despite Donald Trump threatening tariffs on a further $200 billion of Chinese goods.

The optimism helped bargain buying Thursday, with Tokyo ending more than one percent higher and Hong Kong adding 0.8 percent.

Shanghai jumped 2.2 percent as the Chinese central bank set the struggling yuan’s US dollar fix at a strong level in a bid to soothe concerns about its recent sell-off, while the official Xinhua news agency in a commentary said the country’s equity market fluctuations were controllable. The remarks suggested leaders were ready to step in if needed, analysts said.

Sydney, Singapore, Seoul and Taipei were also deep in positive territory.

However, Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA, warned “we are little more than a headline away from another risk-off episode” and added that markets would likely remain volatile for some time.

“The prospects of another round of US tariffs directed at China have resurrected fears that the trade skirmish between Washington and Beijing could escalate with some investors now fearing a full-blown global trade war could be a reality,” he said.

“But the most damning signal is that dialogue... is pretty much non-existent and with a diplomatic solution appearing more unlikely as the days go by markets will remain on the defensive.”

Japan’s Nikkei has been given an extra nudge by a weaker yen, which helps exporters.

Despite the currency’s popularity as a safe have in times of turmoil, the yen is at a six-month low against the dollar, which is getting support from the robust US economy.

While most other countries are seeing improvement, data show the US is surging as jobs creation picks up and wages rise. News that producer price inflation hit a more than six-year high in June added to expectations the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates again soon, in turn strengthening the dollar.

The strong readings coming out of Washington suggest the US is in a much stronger position to fight a trade war with China, which is battling slowing growth and a crippling debt mountain among other things. With AFP

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Megaworld Corp. , Security Bank Corp. ,
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