Stocks fell Thursday on another bout of profit taking as some investors went into consolidation mode.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index slipped 22.26 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,239.28 on a value turnover of P6.1 billion. Gainers, however, beat losers, 109 to 81, with 44 issues unchanged.
Major property developer Ayala Land Inc. of the Ayala Group dropped 2.6 percent to P34.10, while Alliance Global Group Inc. of tycoon Andrew Tan declined 2.3 percent to P12.50.
International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator and owned by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., lost 2 percent at P200.20, but Nickel Asia Corp., the largest nickel miner, climbed 4 percent to P6.06.
The rest of Asian markets mostly rose Thursday as investors tentatively returned to buying after recent losses, with Chinese property firms enjoying a much-needed lift on fresh easing measures by the country’s central bank.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index—one of the worst performers in the world last year—rallied more than three percent thanks to a surge in tech giants including Alibaba, Meituan, Tencent and JD.com, while property firms also enjoyed healthy gains.
Shanghai, however, was unable to maintain early gains and ended slightly lower.
Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta also rose but Taipei, Wellington and Mumbai were down.
Signs that Beijing was on a new monetary easing course also provided some crucial support to the tech giants who have been hammered in recent months as they were caught in the clutches of a wide-ranging, private-sector clampdown.
The People’s Bank of China on Thursday lowered a key bank lending rate for the second time in as many months, days after slashing its policy rate for the first time since the pandemic struck.
The move was the latest aimed at boosting the world’s number two economy, which has been crippled by lockdowns to stem fresh COVID outbreaks as well as a sharp slowdown in the vast property sector, a key driver of growth.
Chinese property firms will be among the biggest winners as the easing improves their chances of accessing much-needed funds to repay monumental debts that have threatened their future and raised concerns of contagion in the broader economy.
However, the market mood remains grounded by concerns about the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy plans as it battles soaring inflation, which has been stoked by a cocktail of surging demand, supply chain snarls, rising wages and a spike in energy prices.
Speculation is now growing that the bank will have to lift interest rates four times or more this year.
Some analysts are tipping a 50 basis-point hike in March, the first such move since 2000, while the bank has also said it plans to offload the bond holdings on its books that have helped keep costs down.
The inevitable end of the era of ultra-cheap cash—which helped fuel a near two-year equity rally and economic rebound—has weighed on global markets for months.
While some have managed to eke out record or multi-year highs, analysts warn that the next few months could see some gyrations. With AFP