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Market drops; Aboitiz Power slips

Stocks fell Monday in thin trading as investors wait for a catalyst that could get the market out of its current doldrums.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index dropped 52.02 points, or 0.7 percent, to 7,880.94 on a value turnover of P4.3 billion. Losers overwhelmed gainers, 128 to 52, with 51 issues unchanged. 

Aboitiz Power Corp. of the Aboitiz Group declined 2.8 percent to P35.90, while major property developer Ayala Land Inc. lost 2.3 percent to P44.90.

Megaworld Corp., the biggest lessor of office spaces, fell 1.7 percent to P4.70, while Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. slipped 1.2 percent to P32.

The rest of Asian markets were mixed Monday on broad optimism that China and the United States are close to a mini trade deal, while Hong Kong rallied after last week’s hefty losses but investors remain on edge over violent protests that have wracked the city.

US traders sent the Dow above 28,000 for the first time on Friday after top White House officials played up the progress of negotiations with Beijing.

Donald Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the first part of a wider pact was on track, while Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that there’ll be a deal “in all likelihood.”

Then on Saturday, China said Vice Premier Liu He had spoken to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and had “constructive discussion on each side’s core concerns regarding the phase-one agreement.”

It added that the two sides will “continue to maintain close communication.”

The comments provided a much-needed fillip after differences over whether, when and by how much to reduce tariffs on each other’s goods spilled out into the open.

Trump this month denied the Chinese commerce ministry’s claim that the two sides had agreed to roll back existing tariffs as part of the deal, details of which have not been released.

Shanghai rose 0.6 percent and Tokyo ended 0.5 percent higher, while Taipei added 0.6 percent and Bangkok put on 0.1 percent.

“Renewed optimism about US-China trade negotiations seems to have been the main initial driver of improved risk sentiment,” said Patrik Schowitz at JP Morgan Asset Management.

“In the current round of talks, more than in previous rounds, we see momentum toward reaching at least a limited trade deal, and certainly a mini-deal would remove some of the negative sentiment overhang for the real economy and markets.”

However, AxiTrader’s Stephen Innes said investors were beginning to see a bottoming-out of the global slowdown.

“Much of this view is dependent on a phase-one deal with China getting signed, auto tariffs put aside, and (as) hard Brexit risks subside,” he said.

“Yet should an agreement not be reached and tariffs are raised further, it’s conceivable the global economy will continue to slide, very possibly into a recession in the quarters ahead.”

Hong Kong climbed more than one percent, having lost almost five percent last week, with traders keeping tabs on events after another weekend of street clashes but with the city’s transport network avoiding the disruption that characterized last week. With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Aboitiz Power Corp. , Ayala Land Inc. , Megaworld Corp.
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