Stocks closed virtually flat Wednesday as investors weighed fresh signs the world economy is in recovery against fears of a second virus wave, geopolitical tensions and profit-taking.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 0.26 point to 6,282.01 on a value turnover of P8.1 billion. Losers edged gainers, 97 to 92, with 61 issues unchanged.
MerryMart Consumer Corp., the fast-rising supermarket chain owned by businessman Edgar Sia II, surged for the third straight day, gaining close to 50 percent at P3.37 from an initial public offering price of P1 per share.
Emperador Inc., the liquor unit of tycoon Andrew Tan, rose 2.1 percent to P8.12, while conglomerate Ayala Corp. climbed 2 percent to P790.50.
GT Capital Holdings Inc. of the Ty Group, however, fell 3 percent to P476.
The rest of Asian stocks rose Wednesday after a cautious day.
US Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan pledges of more support for troubled businesses, and reports of a new trillion-dollar US stimulus sent regional markets soaring Tuesday as they helped traders look past a worrying increase in infections from Tokyo to Beijing to Texas.
Optimism about the world’s top economy was given an extra boost by data showing retail sales, crucial to any recovery, soared a forecast-busting 17.7 percent in May. That came after figures showed a surprise jump in jobs last month.
Meanwhile, an Oxford University study showed the steroid dexamethasone could cut the risk of death for people on ventilators by almost a third.
Still, Fed chief Jerome Powell, whose sobering summary of the outlook for the economy last week sparked a plunge across equities, warned in congressional testimony Tuesday that the recovery would take some time.
While some recent indicators have been favorable, he told lawmakers there was “significant uncertainty” about the outlook and unless consumers feel confident COVID-19 has been defeated, “a full recovery is unlikely.”
He added that the April-June quarter “is likely to be the most severe on record.”
After an edgy start to the day, Asian markets extended Tuesday’s big run-up.
Hong Kong added 0.6 percent, Shanghai, Singapore and Seoul each gained 0.1 percent, and Sydney put on 0.8 percent.
Sydney climbed 0.8 percent, Mumbai edged up 0.5 percent and Taipei put on 0.2 percent, while Wellington soared more than three percent as the New Zealand government moved to tighten borders with military personnel following the import of two virus cases this week.
Tokyo lost 0.6 percent a day after a near-five percent surge and following a report showing Japan’s exports and imports each fell more than a quarter last month.
“Any stock market weakness, failing a full-out border escalation in either geopolitical flashpoint or a super-spreader in China, could prove to be another opportunity to buy the dip,” said AxiCorp’s Stephen Innes.
“As turnaround in the market sentiment of late has been particularly striking, most have begun without any real catalyst, just a wall of money hitting the market en masse.” With AFP