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Stocks retreat; Manila Water falls

The stock market fell Monday, with blue chips leading the retreat as investors preferred to stay on the sidelines amid the US-China trade war and the impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump.

The Philippines Stock Exchange Index slipped 21.92 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,779.80 pm a value turnover of nearly P5.6 billion. Losers, beat gainers, 105 to 81, with 48 issues unchanged.

Manila Water Co. Inc., a unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., slumped 6.1 percent to P15.30 amid the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to review the government’s concession agreement with private water distributors. Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which controls Maynilad Water Services Inc., also dropped 3.3 percent to P3.54.

Megaworld Corp., the biggest lessor of office spaces, declined 2.1 percent to P4.18, while major property Ayala Land Inc. slipped 1.8 percent to P44.70.

Asian markets, meanwhile, mostly rose Monday as investors tracked a rally on Wall Street that was fueled by a forecast-busting US jobs report, while there was little inspiration from tepid Chinese trade data.

While observers widely expect Beijing and Washington to hammer out a partial tariffs agreement, trading floors remain nervous places with less than a week until a deadline when the US is due to impose fresh levies on Chinese goods.

Hopes that the US and global economy could be showing signs of picking up were given a boost Friday when the Labor Department said the US economy created 266,000 net new jobs in November, while it upgraded its readings for the previous two months.

The figure was well up from the 190,000 expected, while the report also showed unemployment at a 50-year low and wages growth improving.

The data “could support the notion (of) a near-term rebound in the US and the global economy,” said AxiTrader’s Stephen Innes.

“Even if you don’t believe that narrative while thinking we are merely in the calm between two storms, it’s challenging to critique this... report in any other light than to describe it as excellent, if not a total blockbuster.”

Eyes are now on the Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting, which ends on Wednesday, with analysts expecting it to hold off cutting interest rates for a fourth time this year.

All three main indexes on Wall Street ended sharply higher and Asia was able to tag along in early trade.

Hong Kong rose 0.1 percent in the afternoon, Shanghai finished 0.1 percent higher and Tokyo ended up 0.3 percent.

Mumbai, Sydney and Seoul each added 0.3 percent, Taipei climbed 0.4 percent and Jakarta gained 0.1 percent. Wellington, Singapore and Bangkok all fell.

Chinese trade data failed to provide any excitement. Data showed at the weekend that exports fell more than expected as the tariffs spat with the US grinds on, though imports beat forecasts.

Dealers are also keeping abreast of progress in the China-US trade talks, most bets on a deal eventually being struck.

White House economic aide Larry Kudlow told CNBC an agreement “is still close” and that the two sides talk almost daily, while Treasury Secretary also said the discussions were on track. 

With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange index , Stock Market
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