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Stocks fall for 6th straight day; PLDT leads decliners

The stock market dropped for the sixth straight session Friday in step with the rest of Asia following rising COVID-19 cases in Europe and the US.

The Philippine Stock Exchange slumped 94.46 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,045.83 on a value turnover of P11.4 billion. Losers beat gainers, 117 to 104, with 39 issues unchanged.

PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, fell 3.1 percent to P1,390, while SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group declined 3 percent to P1,035.

AC Energy Corp., the power generating unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., slipped 2.4 percent to P6.80, while magnetite iron miner Apollo Global Capital Inc. shed 7.2 percent to P0.32.

The rest of Asian markets fell Friday as investors took a breather following a strong week for global equities as Joe Biden took up residence in the White House, though there were concerns about the outlook for his new stimulus proposal.

The new president spent his first full day firing out a series of executive orders to kickstart the government’s battle against COVID-19 as he looks to get the world’s top economy back on its feet, including ramping up its vaccination program.

But he warned that the country would probably record its 500,000th death next month as the disease surges, though there was some optimism as infections appeared to be plateauing.

Asia was in the red, with Hong Kong down more than one percent on profit-taking after cracking 30,000 points Thursday for the first time since April 2019, though analysts say a flood of cash from mainland Chinese traders should buoy the market for some time to come.

Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, and Taipei also fell, though there were gains in Wellington.

The losses came despite a broadly positive lead from Wall Street, where the Nasdaq fired to another record along with the S&P 500, though the Dow inched slightly lower.

Top infectious disease adviser Anthony Fauci said the president’s goal of distributing 100 million doses of vaccine within his first 100 days was “absolutely” achievable. 

The virus continues to be the main stumbling block for markets, playing off against long-term optimism that the planet will eventually return to normal as more people get a jab.

Biden’s $1.9-trillion rescue plan has been a key driver for buying in recent weeks, though there is a fear it could be watered down by growing opposition among Republicans—and some Democrats—to such a big spending spree just a month after a $900-billion package was passed.

But most observers were confident Congress would eventually deliver more help. Biden’s pick for treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, this week told senators to “go big” if they want to see a quicker recovery.

“Day two for the Biden administration delivered no surprises, with the focus shifting to the debate over his $1.9-trillion COVID relief plan,” said OANDA’s Edward Moya. “The next couple weeks will be filled with political posturing but expectations are high that at least $1 trillion worth of support will get approved.”

The US rises were helped by a series of upbeat economic readings, including a surge in Philadelphia-Delaware-New Jersey manufacturing to its highest level since early in the pandemic, below-forecast jobless claims, and better-than-expected housing starts.

And the outlook among observers remains one of positivity for world markets. With AFP

Topics: stock market , COVID-19 , Philippine Stock Exchange , AC Energy Corp.
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