Stocks end flat ahead of GDP data

The stock market closed virtually flat Monday ahead of Thursday’s release of the gross domestic product figures.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose minimally by 2.08 points, or 0.03 percent, to 7,817.31 on a value turnover of P5.6 billion. Losers, however, beat gainers, 117 to 92, with 36 issues unchanged. 

Major property developer Ayala Land Inc., owned by conglomerate Ayala Corp., climbed 3.6 percent to P41.95, but sister unit Globe Telecom Inc. fell 2.7 percent to P1,800.

Transpacific Broadband Group International Inc., which is bidding to become the country’s third major telecommunications firm, jumped 11.1 percent to P0.70, while 

Shares of sister unit ATN Holdings Inc. A, formerly Jabpract Mining and Industrial Corp., surged 9.9 percent to P1.33. The B shares of ATN advanced 12.5 percent to P1.35.

The rest of Asian markets were mixed on Monday with early gains pared by continuing concerns about the brewing China-US trade war, while the yuan struggled to maintain momentum after the Chinese central bank moved to support the unit.

Traders started the day on an upbeat note, tracking their New York and European counterparts following recent painful losses.

The gains came as data on Friday showed that while the US economy saw a slowdown in jobs creation in July, the pace of hiring remained strong over the past three months.

The report also showed wage growth remained tepid, helping ease worries about an overheating economy.

The result provided some much-needed cheer to markets, which brushed off a warning from Beijing that it would impose new tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods if Washington pushes ahead with levies on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

However, while reports said unofficial talks have been held between Beijing and Washington, trade tensions continue to rise, with a top White House adviser calling China a bad bet and saying its economy—the world’s second-biggest—was struggling.

By the end of trade, Monday Tokyo was 0.1 percent lower, reversing a morning rally, while Shanghai tumbled 1.3 percent. Seoul dipped 0.1 percent.

Hong Kong was up 0.3 percent in late trade but well down from the gains of more than one percent seen soon after the open.

Sydney added 0.6 percent, Singapore gained 0.8 percent and Taipei was 0.1 percent higher. Bangkok was flat while Jakarta jumped more than one percent despite an earthquake that rattled the island of Lombok and killed dozens of people.

The yuan’s early gains petered out, having made small gains Friday after the People’s Bank of China unveiled measures making it harder to bet against the currency, which has suffered steep losses in the past two months.

The unit, which is wallowing around lows not seen for more than a year, bounced back soon after the announcement. It extended the gains Monday morning before going into reverse.

The bank’s measure was similar to a move when the currency went into free-fall following a devaluation three years ago that rattled global markets. With AFP

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Ayala Land Inc. , Ayala Corp. , Globe Telecom Inc.
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