HIGHER. The Philippines' main equities index ended Friday (Feb. 3, 2023) up partly on positive earnings report of local and US-based listed firms. The peso gained further against the US dollar and posted a new low in more than seven months on the back of the improvement in the PSEi, the drop in the country's liabilities, and the general weakness of the US dollar. (PNA graphics)

MANILA – Positive earnings reports of listed firms here and in the United States helped boost the local bourse’s main index on Friday while the peso strengthened further against the US dollar.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained by 0.59 percent, or 41.19 points, to 7,027.38 points.

All Shares jumped by 0.59 percent, or 21.68 points, to 3,705.46 points.

Most of the sectoral gauges also increased during the day – Property, 2.42 percent; Industrial, 0.63 percent; Financials, 0.39 percent; and Holding Firms, 0.03 percent.

On the other hand, Mining and Oil shed by 1.76 percent and Services by 0.46 percent.

Volume reached nearly 1.9 billion shares amounting to PHP20.12 billion.

Decliners led advancers at 103 to 83 while 48 shares were unchanged.

Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corp. head of sales, said the latest changes in the composition of the 30-company PSEi helped boost the value turnover in the local bourse during the day.

He said mixed earnings reports among high-profile listed firms in the US, such as Meta, Apple, Alphabet, and Merck, contributed to investors’ sentiment.

The national government’s report on the drop of its debt to PHP13.42 trillion as of end-2022 also contributed to the positive sentiments.

Oil prices in the international market fell “as US industrial-linked factory orders dipped while the greenback strengthened, making crude more expensive for non-American buyers.”

Brent crude oil futures slipped by 1.04 percent to USD81.98 per barrel and the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) by 0.84 percent to USD75.77 per barrel.

The gains of the PSEi were tracked by the local currency, which appreciated further against the US dollar after it ended the week at 53.68 from its 53.845 finish a day ago.

It opened the day at 53.93, up from the previous session’s 54.2 start, and traded between 53.93 and 53.63, resulting in an average of 53.772.

Volume declined to USD1.17 billion from the previous day’s USD 1.62 billion.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said the local currency registered a new low in more than seven months or since June 16, 2022 when it closed at 53.47.

Aside from the PSEi’s improvement, Ricafort attributed the peso’s appreciation to, among others, the weakness of the US dollar to its eight-month low, expectations that the rate hike cycle of the Federal Reserve is nearing its end and the increase in bond prices after the rate hike in the European Central Bank and the Bank of England’s key rates.

He said the announcement by the Bureau of the Treasury of its sale of retail treasury bonds starting Feb. 7 also contributed to the peso’s strength.

For next week, the local currency is expected to trade between 53.40 and 54 against the US dollar, with the range for Monday projected between 53.60 and 53.80. (PNA)