Stocks fell Tuesday, tracking the downtrend in Asia as uncertainty over the China-US trade talks was compounded by increasing tensions in Hong Kong and an economic crisis in Argentina.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, lost 65 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 7,788.45, its lowest in 10 weeks. Despite the loss, the bellwether was still up 4.3 percent since the start of the year.
The broader all-share index also tumbled 41 points, or 0.9 percent, to settle at 4,742.22 on a value turnover of P8.6 billion. Losers outnumbered gainers, 157 to 53, while 42 issues were unchanged.
Eight of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc. of the Gokongwei family which climbed 4 percent to P65.60 and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. which rose 3.3 percent to P51.50. Power retailer Manila Electric Co. gained 2.7 percent to P369.80.
Investor confidence has been knocked this month by a perfect storm of negative issues, only slightly offset by hopes for further central bank easing measures as the global outlook dims.
Comments from Donald Trump throwing next month’s planned trade talks into doubt, as well as his decision to unveil more tariffs on Chinese goods, sent equities tumbling last week and analysts at Goldman Sachs have said they do not expect a deal before the 2020 US presidential election.
The Wall Street titan also warned the standoff could hit US growth, while Treasury yields plunged in a sign of growing concerns for the country’s economic health.
All three main indices on Wall Street ended more than one percent lower on Monday, while there were also losses in Europe and gold—a go-to asset in times of turmoil—climbed back above $1,500 to sit around six-year highs.
Increasing unrest in Hong Kong was also moving into global investors’ view, as protests extend into a third month, with the city’s airport—a major world transport hub—canceling all flights in and out on Monday evening as thousands of demonstrators descended.
The protests are raising pressure on Chief Executive Carrie Lam and led Beijing to warn of “terrorism emerging”.
Stephen Innes, the managing partner at VM Markets, said: “Dropping the ‘T’ word is particularly disturbing as it does suggest a more aggressive mainland response, which triggered a wave of risk aversion across global markets.”
Hong Kong fell more than two percent while Shanghai ended down 0.6 percent.
Tokyo retreated more than one percent as exporters were hit by a rush into the safe-haven yen, Sydney fell 0.3 percent, Seoul dropped 0.9 percent and Singapore dived one percent.
There were also losses in Mumbai, Jakarta, Taipei, Bangkok and Wellington.
Michael Hewson, the chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said that global issues –from the trade stand-off and Brexit to Hong Kong’s unrest and Middle East tensions—could be containable for markets.
But he added: “Taken together in the round as a cocktail of risks against a backdrop of central banks almost out of ammunition and you have a recipe for a lot of nervous investors.”
Emerging market currencies recovered Monday’s losses that came on the back of the shock win in an Argentina presidential primary election by populist center-left candidate Alberto Fernandez over incumbent Mauricio Macri.
The news saw the country’s peso dive 30 percent at one point and the stock market lost more than a third of its value. With AFP