Stocks rally for 2nd straight day

The stock market rose the second straight day Wednesday on prospects of more relaxed quarantine procedures in Luzon after the current lockdown period expires in two weeks.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index advanced 87.29 points, or 1.6 percent, to 5,408.52 on a value turnover of P5.6 billion. Gainers beat losers, 99 to 87, with 41 issues unchanged.

The government may opt for a “selective lockdown” and gradual resumption of economic activity when the enhanced community quarantine over the COVID-19 outbreak in Luzon ends on April 14, wary of a more damaging effect on the economy if another national lockdown is enforced.

JG Summit Holdings Corp. of the Gokongwei Group climbed 7.1 percent to P56, while Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is into toll roads, water and electricity distribution, hospitals and infrastructure, increased 5.4 percent to P2.55.

Megaworld Corp., the biggest lessor of office spaces, rose 4.8 percent to P2.62, while Puregold Price Club Inc. added 4.2 percent to P38.

The rest of Asian markets mostly dropped Wednesday after suffering a diabolical first quarter, with traders contemplating the prospect of lengthy lockdowns as the coronavirus continues its deadly sweep across the planet.

Asian markets, after a broadly upbeat start to the day, ended in negative territory, with Tokyo plunging 4.5 percent and Singapore more than two percent. Mumbai and Seoul sank more than three percent, while Shanghai, Taipei and Jakarta were also lower.

Hong Kong lost more than two percent, with market heavyweight HSBC plunging more than nine percent and Standard Chartered bank more than six percent after they scrapped dividends and warned of a severe impact to revenues.

However, Sydney enjoyed another strong day, rallying 3.6 percent.

With the number of infected and dead still surging in Europe and the United States, hopes are fading that strict containment measures keeping billions of people at home will be lifted any time soon.

That in turn is stoking uncertainty about the outlook for the global economy, which is widely expected to slip into recession this year, while there are also concerns about how long any recovery will take.

Donald Trump said he was extending social distancing and stay-at-home orders for another 30 days to the end of the month, while members of his virus task force warned almost a quarter of a million Americans could die from the disease.

“The demand shock for oil and for the global economy more broadly will be more significant if mobility and social interaction restrictions stay in place beyond April,” said AxiCorp’s Stephen Innes.

“The real question for investors isn’t how shockingly bad the first quarter is going to be—sadly that’s a given—it’s how long the weakness will persist and, as a consequence, how much permanent damage will be done.”

He added that “while the full effects of these disruptions are not yet evident, it is clear that the economy is experiencing the most abrupt and severe contraction since the Great Depression.”

And Rodrigo Catril, of National Australia Bank, said in a note: “Overall, there seems to be an increasing risk that markets are underestimating the length containment measures will be implemented across the globe. China and now Italy are also showing that the removal of these containment measures will be slow.” With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippines Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippines Stock Exchange Index , PSEi , Asian stock market , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19
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