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Phl stocks retreat ahead of US Fed meeting

MANILA, Philippines – Asian stock markets including the Philippines ran into resistance yesterday, ahead of a meeting by Federal Reserve policy makers who are expected to announce new plans to stimulate a sluggish US economy in response to a disappointing jobs report.

At the Philippine Stock Exchange (SPE), the main composite index slid 10.51 points   to close at 5,190.81.

Sectoral indices closed mixed, with laggards led by mining and oil that plunged 253.31 points to close at 20,460.57. Property dropped by 22.20 points to 1,996.87, while industrial shed 0.86 point to 7,915.22.

Holdings firm, however, managed to close in positive territory, gaining 18.42 points to 4,385 while financials   rose by 3.47 points   to 1,307.35. Services gained 2.29 points   to 1,765.48.

Decliners narrowly edged advancers 73 to 70, while 49 stocks were unchanged.

“Risk rallies continued on hopes for further easing from the Fed,” analysts from Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in a market commentary. “With soft US jobs data, we expect that the FOMC will announce a new large-scale asset purchase program at the meeting.”

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South Korea’s Kospi was nearly unchanged at 1,929.59 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 25.01 points to 19,827.20. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 4,326.10. Benchmark in Indonesia was down.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 2.28 points to 8,869.37 after the government said the economy grew at a slower pace than earlier estimated for the April-June quarter. Growth stood at an annual 0.7 percent, slower than the 1.4 percent given in August.

Fears of a global economic slowdown were compounded after China released trade data showing that imports shrank and export growth was muted in August. That came on top of the release over the weekend of data showing sluggish Chinese industrial production and investment.

The US government reported Friday that 96,000 jobs were created in the US last month, fewer than economists had forecast. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, but only because many people gave up looking for work, so they were no longer counted as unemployed. – AP

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