Stocks on mitigating COVID cases; ICTSI and BDO climb

Shares jumped on Tuesday after daily cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines peaked, stoking hopes of less restrictive mobility restrictions, particularly in the capital region.

The Philippine stock index jumped 120.13 points, or 1.7%, to 7,343.96 on a turnover of 4.9 billion pesos. The winners beat the losers, 100 to 85, with 56 numbers unchanged.

Sy Group’s BDO Unibank Inc., the largest lender by assets, rose 2.2% to P130, while sister unit SM Prime Holdings Inc. climbed 2% to P34.85 .

International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator and owned by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., rose 4.1% to P211.40, but noodle maker Monde Nissin Corp. fell 3.1% to 16.70P.

Meanwhile, crude oil hit a more than seven-year high on Tuesday on optimism that the global recovery will boost demand, but concerns over the end of long-standing central bank support and rising yields Treasury saw most equity markets reverse early gains.

After an almost unbroken recovery since the early days of the pandemic, global markets are showing signs of stabilizing as global finance chiefs shift from economy-boosting largesse to measures aimed at containing inflation.

Still, stocks are expected to post further gains this year as countries reopen and people grow more confident about travel, especially as studies suggest the most prevalent variant of the coronavirus Omicron seems to be softer as vaccines are rolled out.

Analysts are also watching the ongoing corporate earnings season in hopes that companies can match their stellar performance from last year.

But as Asian markets got off to a strong start to the day after Monday’s setbacks, traders resumed selling as US Treasury yields jumped on expectations the Federal Reserve will have to unveil several interest rate hikes to deal with a worrying spike in inflation. Wall Street was closed on Monday.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta all fell.

There were gains in Shanghai on hopes of further economic stimulus, while Wellington also edged higher.

But oil delivered on its early promise, with Brent rising to $88.13 a barrel and WTI hitting $85.74, two levels not seen since October 2014.

The gains came on demand optimism as the world reopens and concerns about Omicron ease. The easing of travel restrictions in several countries has pushed up jet fuel prices.

Hopes for further monetary easing by China’s big consumer to bolster its faltering economy were also seen as key support for the oil market.

Another factor in the latest jolt was an alleged attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in Abu Dhabi that triggered an explosion in a fuel tank killing three people on Monday, with the group warning civilians and foreign businesses in the Emirates Arab States to avoid “vital installations”.

The news fueled concerns over supplies from the crude-rich region.

“The suspected drone attack in Abu Dhabi underscores the continued threat to the region’s civil and energy infrastructure amid heightened regional tensions,” Torbjorn Soltvedt told risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft. With AFP

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