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Thursday, February 22, 2024

PSEi rises above 6,300 as oil prices ease

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Philippine stocks rose Tuesday, following a long break, on growing optimism about the economy and easing global oil prices amid the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, gained 40 points, or 0.64 percent, to close at 6,309.57, while the broader all-shares index picked up 10 points, or 0.31 percent to settle at 3,358.70 on a value turnover of P5.34 billion.

Philstocks Financial Inc. research analyst Claire Alviar said investors welcomed the easing oil prices in the world market as this could support the growth of the Philippine economy in the fourth quarter of the year.

Alviar said foreign buying, worth P657 million, also boosted the market and helped push the value turnover above the P5-billion mark for the first time this month.

Luis Limlingan, head of sales from Regina Capital Development Corp. said investors were gearing up for the trading last month and preparing for some window-dressing activites.

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Losers outnumbered gainers, 106 to 79, while 39 issues were unchanged.

Five of the 10 most active stocks ended in the green, led by SM Prime Holdings Inc. which climbed 4.46 percent to P33.95 and Ayala Land Inc. which rose 3.68 percent to P31.00.

Meanwhile, Asian markets were mixed Tuesday following a tepid performance on Wall Street, with profit-taking tempering hopes for Federal Reserve interest rate cuts next year and traders awaiting key US inflation data due later this week.

A string of indicators in recent months pointing to a slowing economy — as well as a below-forecast rise in consumer prices — have fueled optimism that the US central bank has hiked borrowing costs for the last time this cycle.

That has led to speculation decision-makers have managed to walk the thin line between bringing inflation down and averting a recession.

However, analysts said there was a sliver of concern that the readings could point to weakness down the line.

In addition to the closely watched personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, the Fed’s preferred guide on inflation, investors will be keeping an eye this week on several other pointers, including consumer confidence and gross domestic product.

A number of central bank officials are also lined up to talk, including boss Jerome Powell, though they are expected to stick to their long-running line that their policy decisions will be based on data, and they see rates staying higher for longer to tame inflation completely.

“The market appears to have embraced the idea that slowing economic data will hasten the arrival of market-friendly rate cuts, even though the Fed has continued to telegraph otherwise,” said Chris Larkin at E*Trade from Morgan Stanley.

“This week will provide plenty of opportunities for traders to decide whether that cooling trend is intact.”

Data suggests traders see almost one percentage point of cuts through next year, with US Treasury yields continuing to come down from their 16-year highs last month.

But Liz Ann Sonders, of Charles Schwab, warned on Bloomberg Television: “Be careful what you wish for.

“If the market is right in expecting that rate cuts could start maybe even at the end of the first quarter, in the first half, that would require to some degree a weaker economic and labor market backdrop than what we’re seeing right now.”

Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Mumbai were in the red, while Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei, Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta rose.

London, Paris and Frankfurt opened lower.

Expectations that rates will come down have put pressure on the dollar, which extended Monday’s losses against the yen and pound.

Traders are also watching developments in oil markets as OPEC and its key allies gear up for a meeting that was delayed until November 30 after some African countries reportedly baulked at more production cuts proposed by Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis and Russia are thought to be considering announcing a further reduction in output into the new year as they try to prop up prices, which have come down owing to slowing economies and softening demand. With AFP

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