LACK OF CATALYSTS. The lack of positive catalysts to drive a market rally resulted in the negative close of the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) on Wednesday (Feb. 22, 2023). The peso tracked the main index due to geopolitical issues overseas. (PNA graphics)

MANILA – The local stock barometer closed lower on Wednesday amid a lack of positive catalysts to drive a market rally while the peso trailed behind.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 1.50 percent, or 101.73 points, to 6,699.23 points.

All Shares trailed after it slipped by 1.17 percent, or 42.25 points, to 3,579.36 points.

All sectoral gauges finished the day in the negative territory, led by Property which went down by 1.84 percent.

It was followed by Financials. 1.76 percent; Industrial, 1.28 percent; Mining and Oil, 1.20 percent; Holding Firms, 1.16 percent; and Services, 1.10 percent.

Volume reached 1.34 billion shares amounting to PHP4.93 billion.

Decliners led advancers at 134 to 45, while 43 shares were unchanged.

Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation (RCDC) head of sales, said investors’ sentiment are dampened by “lack of positive catalyst that could prompt the market upwards”, thus the drop below 6,700-level.

“In the US, the major exchanges dropped as well as higher rates continued to pressure the market sentiment, and the recent retail earnings raised concern about the status of the consumers,” he said.

He added oil prices went down “as persistent concerns about global economic growth outweighed supply curbs and propelled investors to take profits on the prior day’s gains.”

Meanwhile, the local currency ended the day at 55.18 from the previous day’s 55.085.

It opened the day at 55.07, weaker than its 54.94 start in the previous session.

The local currency traded between 55.24 and 55.05, resulting in an average of 55.133.

Volume reached a little over USD1 billion, lower than the previous day’s USD1.03 billion.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort traced the peso’s weakness partly to the US-China conflict, the US-Russia issues following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that he will suspend the observation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treasury (New START) nuclear weapons treaty with the US and expectations for more hikes in the Federal Reserve’s key rates.

Ricafort said these factors are countered by the Philippine Senate’s approval on third and final reading of a resolution that concurs to the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade agreement, among others.

For Thursday, the currency pair is expected to trade between 55.10 to 55.30 to a US dollar. (PNA)