Market falls; SM Prime, JG Summit lead losers



The stock market declined Wednesday along with the rest of Asia with fears over a renewed coronavirus surge weighing on global investor sentiment and US equities deepening their retreat from last week’s record highs.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 61.03 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,439.39 on a value turnover of P5.4 billion. Gainers, however, edged losers, 108 to 92, with 52 issues unchanged.

SM Prime Holdings Inc., the biggest mall operator and owned by the Sy Group, shed 4 percent P34.80, while JG Summit Holdings Inc. of the Gokongwei Group dropped 2.7 percent to P56.80.

PLDT Inc., the largest telecommunications firm, however, rose 4.5 percent to P1,296, while Century Pacific Food Inc., a leading canned food manufacturer, added 1.2 percent to P21.

The rest of Asian markets, meanwhile, saw big falls Wednesday.

Countries around the world are urgently working to accelerate vaccination campaigns and revive their pandemic-ravaged economies, with new variants of the pathogen driving unprecedented infection numbers in some of the worst-hit nations.  

While both the Dow and the S&P 500 finished last week at new peaks and also posted their fourth consecutive weekly gains, shares have fallen over the past two days as earnings season enters its second week.

“Global stocks are still plumbing the lows after renewed virus concerns spooked markets overnight,” said Stephen Innes of Axi.  

“The surge has led to increased travel restrictions and severely dented parts of the priced to perfection reopen trade, leading to renewed concern over the continued economic impact, shrouding a batch of solid corporate results.”

Tokyo led the sell-off with the Nikkei down two percent by the close after the port city of Osaka—where hospital beds for seriously ill coronavirus patients have run out—asked the central government to impose a state of emergency.

Infections there are rising just three months before the country hosts the virus-delayed Olympics, and Tokyo and several other areas are expected to follow in Osaka’s footsteps.

Mumbai fell another 0.5 percent on Wednesday as India battles a worrying virus surge and record daily case numbers overwhelm already stretched hospitals.

The capital New Delhi was locked down Monday for a week, and the government said all adults would be eligible for a vaccine from May as it tries to get a grip on the crisis. 

Hong Kong was down 1.8 percent with Chinese entertainment giant and index heavyweight Tencent tracking the market fall, though Shanghai finished flat.

Sydney was down 0.3 percent despite stronger than expected retail sales data while Seoul, Wellington and Singapore all fell more than one percent.  

Faltering market sentiment saw the greenback rise for the first time in seven trading days while 10-year US Treasury yields fell as traders moved back into safe-haven investments.

“A further setback in US stocks following Monday’s decline has read through to a modest reversal in the USD’s dwindling fortunes thus far in April, and also a fresh set-back in US bonds yields back after a fleeting attempt at a rally either side of the weekend,” said Rodrigo Catril of NAB. With AFP

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