Shares rebound on stalled US-China trade talks

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File photo of the Philippine Stock Exchange headquarters in Taguig City. Photo taken on Feb. 19, 2018. — PHOTO BY SANTIAGO JOSE J. ARNAIZ

By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

LOCAL SHARES recovered on Wednesday even as investors remained on the sidelines as they waited for more developments on the US-China trade talks and the Federal Reserve’s policy review.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) firmed up 0.18% or 14.79 points to close at 7,858.20, slightly bouncing back from the previous session’s losses. The broader all-shares index likewise rose 0.29% or 14.20 points to 4,847.49.

“With the trade talks stalling on differences and the Federal Reserve watch continuing, investors bought into Philippine shares as refuge,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

Negotiators for the US and China are reported to meet in Beijing next week for another round of high-level trade talks, after which they will then have another meeting in Washington for more negotiations.

Both sides are seen to come up with a final deal by April or a month later than originally expected.

Investors are also waiting for results of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting, where the US central bank is seen to set a more dovish tone for the year.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Monetary Board is also scheduled to meet on Thursday, prompting the market to maintain a wait-and-see mode, according to Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez.

“Consensus largely expects policy rates to remain steady, but we might see a cut in the Reserve Requirement in line with BSP Governor (Benjamin E.) Diokno’s recent statements that there could be one cut every quarter for the next four quarters,” Mr. Perez said in an e-mail.

The PSEi bucked the weakness seen in markets overseas, which mostly fell due to uncertainties in the ongoing trade talks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% or 26.72 points to 25,887.38, while the S&P 500 index slumped 0.37 points or 0.01% to 2,832.57. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite index increased 0.12% or 9.47 points to 7,723.95.

Back home, holding firms was the lone counter that ended in negative territory, losing 0.47% or 36.89 points to end at 7,723.62.

The rest increased, led by mining and oil which soared 2.15% or 175.58 points to 8,323.86. Property followed with a 1.01% increase or 40.71 points to 4,037.02, while industrials climbed 0.6% or 70.11 points to 11,645.28. Services added 0.53% or 8.38 points to 1,581.64 and financials edged higher by 0.17% or 3.11 points to 1,775.30.

Some 594.60 million issues valued at P5.46 billion switched hands, slightly lower than Tuesday’s P5.97 billion.

Foreign investors remained net sellers at P370.72 million, higher than the previous session’s net sales figure of P70.34 million.

Advancers outpaced decliners, 102 to 78, while 68 names were unchanged.