WORRIES. Concerns for the continued hikes in the Federal Reserve's key rates continued to dampen investors' sentiment and resulted in the negative close of the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) on Thursday (March 9, 2023). On the other hand, the peso corrected against the US dollar partly on positive jobs reports both here and in the US. (PNA graphics)

MANILA – The local stock barometer snapped a run of increases on Thursday on rate hike worries but the peso registered a correction against the United States dollar.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 1.52 percent, or 102.22 points, to 6,609.27 points.
All Shares followed with a drop of 1.02 percent, or 36.47 points, to 3,549.19 points.
All sectoral indices also ended the day in the negative territory, led by Property after it fell by 2.86 percent.
It was followed by Holding Firms, 1.69 percent; Mining and Oil, 1.42 percent; Services, 0.80 percent; Industrial, 0.63 percent; and Financials, 0.49 percent.
Volume totaled 880.58 million shares amounting to PHP4.99 billion.
Decliners led advancers at 105 to 72 while 52 shares were unchanged.
Luis Limliingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation (RCDC) head of sales, said “traders processed fresh job market data” and the comments of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who told US lawmakers about the need to increase the central bank’s key rates higher than anticipated.
Earlier in the day, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported the year-on-year decline of the unemployment rate to 4.8 percent last February from 6.4 percent a year ago.
ADP National Employment Report showed that employment in the US’ private sector rose by 242,000 jobs last February, indicating the robustness of the world’s largest economy.
Limlingan also traced the decline in oil prices to “more aggressive US interest rate hikes which pressures economic growth and (after) oil demand outweighed a larger-than-expected draw in US crude stocks.”
Brent crude oil futures declined by 0.9 percent to USD 82.55 per barrel and the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) by 1.3 percent to USD76.59 per barrel.
Meanwhile, the local currency managed to end the day sideways against the US dollar at 55.24 from day-ago’s 55.32 finish.
It opened the day at 55.25 and traded between 55.29 and 55.14. The average for the day stood at 55.238.
Volume went down to USD926.3 million from the previous day’s USD1.02 billion.  
Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said the peso was buoyed by the weakening of the US dollar, the report about the improvement of unemployment rate in the country in February 2022 and the one year-low inflation rate in China for February 2023 at 1 percent.
He said these factors countered fears for further hike in the Federal Reserve’s key rates which are expected to increase following Powell’s statement before US legislators.
Ricafort expects the peso to trade between 55.20-55.40 against the greenback on Friday. (PNA)