Local markets weaken ahead of September inflation report

By Joann Villanueva

October 4, 2018, 9:09 pm

MANILA -- Bargain hunting pinned Philippines equities Thursday contributing to the peso’s weakness a day after both markets ended trading with gains.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) finished the day at 7,093.34 points, down 1.63 percent or 117.53 points.

All the other counters mirrored the main index, with the All Shares down by 1.19 percent, or 52.63 points, to 4,370.34 points.

Property posted the highest decline at 2.59 percent and was trailed by the Financials, 2.11 percent; Holding Firms, 1.28 percent; Mining and Oil, 0.90 percent; Industrial, 0.78 percent; and Services, 0.45 percent.

Volume improved after totaling to 1.05 billion shares but value remain muted at PHP4.31 billion.

Losers led gainers at 122 to 68 while 51 stocks were unchanged.

Landbank market economist Guian Dumalagan said investors stayed at the sidelines ahead of Friday’s release of the September 2018 inflation report.

On the external front, investors took note of the higher-than-expected rise of US private sector hiring for September at 230,000 on account of expansion of the services sector.

Another factor is the rise of US’ 10-year Treasury yields after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell indicated further increase in the Fed’s key policy rates as the US economy continues to show expansion.

These developments increased preference for safe haven assets, thus, the depreciation of the peso to 54.32 to a greenback from Wednesday’s 54.18.

A trader said investors' wait-and-see stance ahead of September's inflation report due on Friday weighed the peso down.

He added that some economists have been projecting an even higher inflation rate from the multiyear high of 6.4 percent last August.

Philippine monetary officials have reiterated that inflation probably peaked in the third quarter but the trader said this remains to be seen given unforseen weather disturbances. The full impact of Typhoon Ompong, which wreaked havoc in central and northern Luzon mid-September, has yet to be factored-in.

The peso opened the day’s trade little changed at 54.27 from 54.25 a day ago.

It traded between its opening level and 54.41, resulting to an average of 54.345.

Volume reached USD893.1 million, up from the USD725.2 million a day ago. (PNA)