Stocks retreat; BPI, Puregold fall

The stock market fell Monday on profit-taking after rebounding sharply in the last two trading sessions, with blue chips leading the decliners.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index dropped 101.44 points, or 1.4 percent, to 7,332.17 on a value turnover of just P3.5 billion. Losers beat gainers, 99 to 81, with 55 issues unchanged.

Puregold Price Club Inc. of retail tycoon Lucio Co. lost 4 percent to P44, while Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-biggest lender in terms of assets, declined 3.6 percent to P85.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. of retail tycoon Henry Sy Sr. fell 3.5 percent to P37.50, while major property developer Ayala Land Inc. slipped 2.6 percent to P39.85.

The rest of Asian markets mostly rose Tuesday but investors remained on edge after the latest tit-for-tat tariffs in the China-US trade row, while they are now looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting.

While the levies had been widely expected, there are concerns about how long the dispute will last after China cancelled planned talks and said negotiations “cannot be carried out under the threat of tariffs.”

Vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen said Tuesday it was impossible to hold negotiations while Washington is imposing tariffs that are like “holding a knife to someone’s throat.” He accused the US of abandoning a consensus struck in May.

Fresh political uncertainty in Washington is also drawing attention, helping to drag on Wall Street, with speculation Donald Trump could fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over reports he suggested removing the president from office.

The developments are being closely followed because Rosenstein plays a key role in overseeing the Russia probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which Trump has labelled a politically motivated “witch hunt”.

His removal could deal a major blow to the investigation and possibly a constitutional crisis in Washington, leading to further political instability.

Tokyo, back after a public holiday, ended 0.3 percent higher, Singapore added 0.7 percent and Taipei gained 0.1 percent. There were also gains in Mumbai, Bangkok, and Wellington.

But Shanghai, also returning from a long weekend, fell 0.6 percent by the close, while Sydney was barely moved.

Hong Kong and Seoul were closed for public holidays.

Energy firms enjoyed big gains following a surge in oil prices on Monday after the world’s top producers agreed to maintain output despite pressure from Trump.

Brent soared more than three percent to a four-year high above $81 while WTI piled on 1.8 percent to hold around $72 after Opec and non-Opec nations said they were satisfied with the current market outlook. Both contracts extended gains Tuesday.

“Oil continues to hold on to astonishing gains as the latest move was helped along by headlines from Opec’s weekend meeting, as the organization agreed to no immediate supply boosts, and last week’s reports that Saudi Arabia was now comfortable with Brent at $80,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA. With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Puregold Price Club Inc. , Bank of the Philippine Islands , SM Prime Holdings Inc.
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