Stocks drop; Ayala issues fall

The stock market dropped Friday in step with the rest of Asia, as the Bank of Japan's small adjustments to its stimulus program disappointed traders who had expected a huge boost to its arsenal.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 61.87 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,963.11 on a value turnover of P11.9 billion. Losers beat gainers, 127 to 82, with 36 issues unchanged.

Conglomerate Ayala Corp. retreated 2.2 percent to P870, while property unit Ayala Land Inc. lost 1.2 percent to P39.50. Cemex Holdings Philippines Inc. declined 2.3 percent to P11.90.

Security Bank Corp., the sixth-largest lender in terms of capital, bucked the trend, adding 2 percent to P219. Cebua Air Inc., the biggest budget carrier, climbed 3.6 percent to P109.

Japan's Nikkei index, meanwhile, ended higher, with financials cheering that the bank did not cut borrowing costs further into negative territory, but most other regional markets retreated.

The Nikkei stock index sank almost two percent at one point but bounced back to end 0.6 percent higher.

Among other markets, Seoul fell 0.2 percent and Hong Kong was off 1.3 percent while Shanghai ended 0.5 percent down.

Singapore tumbled 1.5 percent but Sydney was up 0.1 percent.

In early European trade London fell 0.1 percent but Frankfurt rose 0.5 percent and Paris added 0.2 percent.

After weeks of anticipation that the central bank would pump fresh cash into the economy, policymakers said only that they would boost its exposure to riskier investments, leaving a massive 80 trillion yen annual asset-buying program unchanged.

"The BoJ decision failed to meet the market's high expectations," Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in Singapore, told Bloomberg News.

He added that while governor Haruhiko Kuroda indicated the bank could unveil fresh measures at its September meeting, "overall this is a huge disappointment for markets".

The news sent the dollar tumbling to below 103 yen at one point from 104.20 yen earlier in the day, and well off the levels above 107 yen touched last week. In the afternoon it was at 103.50 yen, while the euro bought 114.51 yen from 116.60 yen.

The BoJ announcement came days after the government in Tokyo launched a fresh program worth 28 trillion yen to kickstart the Japanese economy.

World markets soared in July as Britain's shock vote to leave the European Union sparked promises of support from central banks and governments in a bid to fend off a feared hit to the global economy.

The need for more support was highlighted Friday by data showing core Japanese consumer prices fell for a fourth straight month in June, the latest sign that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive fire inflation is struggling to gain traction.

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst, at OANDA, said: "Perhaps the days of investors looking to these central banks to provide a quick fix currency depreciation are broadly behind us and a new phase of constructive monetary easing combined with actual fiscal spending is what is needed.

Source: The Standard