The stock market edged higher Monday on thin trading as investors today await the release of the June inflation rate.

The Philippines stock index added 18.27 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,183.62 on a turnover of 3.8 billion pesos. The losers, however, beat the winners, 111 to 69, with 50 numbers unchanged.

Fiber optic broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. jumped 5% to 22 pesos, while PLDT Inc., the largest telecommunications company owned by Indonesian Salim Group, climbed 3.5% to reach 1,729 pesos.

SM Investments Corp. of Sy Group, rose 3.9% to 800 pesos, while unit BDO Unibank Inc., the largest lender by assets, rose 3% to 115.50 pesos.

The rest of Asian markets tumbled on Monday as traders worried about a possible recession caused by central bank interest rate hikes aimed at tackling soaring inflation.

Data showing an upsurge in new COVID-19 cases in China has reignited concerns over the government’s policy of locking down cities to eradicate the disease, despite the economic cost.

After the S&P 500’s worst January-June since 1970, Wall Street got the second half of the year off to a strong start on Friday, with a lower-than-expected reading on the US manufacturing sector, raising hopes that banks will not extend the period of monetary tightening.

This followed a drop in consumer confidence, a key driver of the world’s largest economy.

However, National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril said the Federal Reserve and other global financial chiefs may not ease rate hikes too soon as inflation remains stuck around multi-decade highs.

“While the data suggests a US economic slowdown is ahead, we do not yet see signs of easing inflationary pressures, an important distinction given that the Fed will continue its aggressive tightening approach until she sees the proof,” he said. in a comment.

In a sign of the struggle officials will have to control rising prices, figures show inflation in the eurozone hit a record 8.6% in June. The European Central Bank is expected to raise rates this month for the first time in more than a decade.

Still, while soaring prices remain a huge issue, Chris Weston of Pepperstone Group said the psychology is “radically shifting from inflation concerns to a situation where we are firmly focused on growth.”

While New York provided a solid lead, Asia struggled.

Hong Kong fell as investors returned from a long weekend to make up for Friday’s losses, while Seoul, Taipei, Bangok and Jakarta were also down.

However, Tokyo, Shanghai, Mumbai, Sydney, Singapore, Taipei and Wellington increased.

A rise in new COVID cases in China over the weekend weighed on sentiment among investors who fear a return to painful lockdowns in major cities, including Shanghai, which has hammered the world’s second-largest economy.

The country recorded more than 700 new infections on Saturday and Sunday, after holding steady at less than 50 a day for the previous two weeks.

Macau saw its first two COVID deaths over the weekend and authorities said they would consider a citywide lockdown to tackle the disease. The comments sent Hong Kong-listed stocks plunging into Macau casinos. With AFP