The stock market rose Friday on select buying and reports of declining COVID-19 cases in the capital region.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 54.24 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,293.52 on a value turnover of P5.5 billion. Gainers edged losers, 94 to 93, with 53 issues unchanged.
Solar Philippine Nueva Ecija Corp., which is building what is being touted as the biggest solar farm in Southeast Asia, surged 8.1 percent to P1.73, while JG Summit Holdings Inc. of the Gokongwei Group advanced 3.2 percent to P62.
SM Prime Holdings Inc. of the Sy Group climbed 2.7 percent to P34.70, but Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-largest lender in terms of assets, fell 1.6 percent to P57.30.
The rest of Asian markets dropped Friday following another wave of losses on Wall Street as traders returned their focus to the Federal Reserve’s plans to ramp up interest rates, while oil prices sank from their seven-year highs.
Sydney lost more than two percent, while Wellington and Taipei were more than one percent down.
Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore and Mumbai were also off. However, Hong Kong managed to eke out a small gain at the end thanks to late bargain-buying, while Jakarta also rose.
Angst about the Fed’s determination to fight surging inflation by removing its ultra-loose monetary policy is dealing a severe blow to the rally in global markets that has run virtually uninterrupted for nearly two years, leaving most markets in the red at the start of 2022.
Officials have started tapering the massive bond-buying put in place at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and it is widely expected they will start lifting borrowing costs from March, though by how much is a matter of speculation.
The Fed has also said it will begin offloading the bonds it already has on its books, which have been key in helping keep rates low, though it is not clear how quickly it will do that.
Markets are now awaiting the Fed board’s meeting next week, hoping it will provide a clear idea about its timetable for policy normalization.
But with key officials now in a black-out period ahead of the gathering, there is little information for investors to work with, fueling uncertainty and volatility.
Wall Street’s three main indexes closed deep in negative territory again—having spent much of the day well up—with tech firms again the big losers, owing to their susceptibility to higher rates.
Adding to the selling was data showing a pick-up in US jobless claims and a far-weaker-than-expected reading on a key manufacturing index, which all suggest that while the Omicron COVID variant is less severe than feared, it is still causing concern.
Traders are also keeping a nervous eye on Ukraine, where Russia’s troop build-up is fanning fears Moscow is planning an invasion.
And, having enjoyed a healthy run-up Thursday on the back of further easing measures by China, Asian equities followed suit.
The sell-off in equities was matched by sharp drops in the oil market, with both contracts down more than one percent after data showed US stockpiles at an eight-week high with gasoline supplies beating forecasts. With AFP