Stocks end flat; Metrobank slips

Stocks closed virtually flat Monday in dull trading, with investors opting to stay on the sidelines while waiting for catalysts to lift the market.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index settled at 7,832.43, down 2.72 points or 0.03 percent, on a value turnover of P6.7 billion. Losers beat gainers, 101 to 74, with unchanged.

Megaworld Corp., the biggest lessor of office spaces, dropped 4.4 percent to P5.44, while Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-largest lender in terms of assets, fell 2.6 percent to P76.

Conglomerate Ayala Corp. declined 2 percent to P882, but PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, gained 1.3 percent to P1,240.

Chinese stocks, meanwhile, closed lower Monday on speculation authorities would limit monetary policy easing after signs of stabilization in Asia’s top economy but trade was lackluster with many markets closed for Easter.

After initially opening on a positive footing, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed down 1.70 percent, or 55.76 points, to close at 3,215.04.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, was off 1.51 percent.

The weakness came after the Politburo, China’s top decision-making body, said on Friday the government would continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy that is neither too tight nor too loose.

Investors had interpreted that as meaning “that the government will suspend the easing of monetary policy,” said Shen Zhengyang, an analyst at Northeast Securities.    

“Large caps like financials and the real estate sectors suffered big losses today accordingly,” he added.

Real estate property firm Vanke dived more than six percent and China Construction Bank was lower by more than three percent.

Markets in Hong Kong and Australia were closed for the Easter break while many European and US markets will also not trade on Monday.

Japanese stocks went the other way―opening lower but closing higher although volumes were thin ahead of an unprecedented 10-day market closure in Japan to celebrate the enthronement of a new emperor on May 1.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.08 percent while the broader Topix index was up 0.10 percent.

Hideyuki Ishiguro, strategist at Daiwa Securities, said there was a lack of “fresh market-moving events” driving trade early Monday.

And investors are looking “to take profit ahead of 10 days of holidays during which key Chinese and US economic data are due,” Ishiguro said.

Traders may also be holding fire as they await a two-day meeting of the Bank of Japan later in the week. Some companies, including gaming giant Nintendo, are also unveiling their latest results.

Precision motor maker Nidec is reporting on Tuesday and industrial robot maker Fanuc the day after, noted Ishiguro, who added that investors would also be scrutinizing results from US IT giants Amazon and Microsoft later this week.

“Some investors bought back shares in firms expected to announce positive results,” Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities, told AFP. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Philippine Stock Exchange , Metrobank , PSEi , PSE
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