MANILA – After several days of rally, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) resumed the shortened trading week Thursday with a drop of 0.68 percent, or 45.79 points, to 6,734.99 points.
All Shares followed with a decline of 0.37 percent, or 12.95 points, to 3,501.03 points.
Half of the sectoral gauges trailed the main index, namely Property, 3.75 percent; Services, 2.23 percent; and Financials, 0.84 percent.
On the other hand, Mining and Oil rose by 3.22 percent, Holding Firms by 1.43 percent, and Industrial by 0.21 percent.
Volume reached 796.43 million shares amounting to PHP10.11 billion.
Advancers led decliners at 112 to 77 while 40 shares were unchanged.
“Philippine shares started the month on profit-taking, with investors selling on news, with Fed (Federal Reserve) Chair Jerome Powell’s statement, signaling slower rate hikes” said Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation (RCDC) head of sales.
He noted that Powell also “cautioned (that) the Fed may stay with restrictive policy for a long time before it ends its inflation fight.”
Aside from the Fed signals, he said the market was also affected by investors’ wait-and-see stance for the initial jobless claims as well as the November jobs report scheduled for release on Friday.
“The payrolls report is expected to provide more clarity on the labor market, and whether it continues to cool,” he said.
Oil prices, in turn, rose “on signs of tighter supply, a weaker dollar, and optimism over a Chinese demand recovery,” he said.
Brent crude oil futures increased by 2.8 percent to USD85.43 per barrel and the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) by 3.01 percent to USD80.55 per barrel.
Meanwhile, the local currency improved against the US dollar and closed at 56.22 from 56.56 last Tuesday.
It opened the day at 56.45, better than the previous session’s 56.7.
It traded between 56.45 and 56.1, resulting in an average of 56.318.
Volume reached USD898.7 million, lower than USD1.03 billion last Tuesday.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation chief economist Michael Ricafort traced the peso’s strength to the weakening of the greenback following softer US economic data such as on US private sector jobs generation releases recently.
He said the latest economic reports from the US bolster hints for slower hikes in the Federal Reserve’s key rates as expectations for a recession are seen to help address the four-decade-high rate of price increases in the world’s largest economy.
For Friday, he expects the peso to trade between 56.10-56.30 to a US dollar. (PNA)