Stocks fell for a second day on lingering worries over inflation that may force monetary authorities to adjust the interest rates higher and following the World Bank’s reduction in 2023 global growth forecast.
The PSE index, the 30-company benchmark, dropped 47 points, or 0.70 percent, to close at 6,709.34 on Wednesday, as four of the six subsectors declined.
The broader all-share index went down by 19 points, or 0.56 percent, to settle at 3,539.46, on a value turnover of P7.87 billion. Losers outnumbered gainers, 101 to 89, while 48 issues were unchanged.
Two of the 10 most active stocks ended in the green, led by Converge ICT Inc. which rose 1.11 percent to P18.20 and Jollibee Foods Corp. which pick up 0.25 percent to P241.60.
Meanwhile, the peso sustained its strength as it gained 0.13 percent to close at 54.80 against the US dollar Wednesday from 54.87 on Tuesday.
Most Asian equities pushed higher Wednesday as investors were buoyed by China’s reopening and optimism that key data due this week will signal a further slowdown in US inflation.
Traders tracked a Wall Street advance as they brushed off fresh warnings that Federal Reserve rates would continue to rise and a World Bank decision to slash its global growth forecast.
After a stumble Tuesday, regional markets resumed the upward push that has characterised the start of the year thanks to China’s emergence from nearly three years of zero-Covid isolation.
The reopening, easing of Beijing’s tech crackdown and moves to help the property sector have raised hopes for the world’s number-two economy, a crucial driver of world growth.
SPI Asset Management’s Stephen Innes said: “Despite a solid start to the year, there should be a lot more upside to China’s stocks, with earnings upgrades to drive further outperformance.
“Although we are not pitching a tent in that camp just yet, many investors are starting to believe China’s reopening could be faster than expected on pent-up demand, a robust economic rebound and fewer supply constraints.”
Hong Kong rose again, having already added about eight percent so far in 2023. Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul, Mumbai and Singapore were also in the ascendancy, though there were losses in Shanghai, Wellington, Taipei and Manila.
London, Paris and Frankfurt opened higher.
Focus this week is on Thursday’s US consumer price index, which is expected to show that price gains eased further in December.
But while that could possibly allow the Federal Reserve to take a lighter approach to its monetary tightening campaign, policymakers continue to push back against any pivot away from rate hikes.
Markets were battered last year by fears that almost a year of hikes will tip the economy into recession.
Bank boss Jerome Powell said that “restoring price stability when inflation is high can require measures that are not popular in the short term as we raise interest rates to slow the economy”.
Meanwhile, Fed governor Michelle Bowman said that while inflation was coming down, “we have a lot more work to do” and that once rates had peaked they would have to stay there for some time.
She added that “unemployment has remained low as we have tightened monetary policy and made progress in lowering inflation”.
“I take this as a hopeful sign that we can succeed in lowering inflation without a significant economic downturn,” she said.
And JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said borrowing costs could actually go higher than the five percent priced in by markets, suggesting they could hit six percent.
“This week’s US CPI report is now the next focus for markets in the tug of war currently playing out between the market, which thinks the Fed will have to cut rates this year, and Fed officials who insist nothing even close to that will happen,” said Michael Hewson at CMC Markets.
There was little reaction to the World Bank slashing its 2023 global growth forecast by about half and a warning that the economy was “perilously close” to recession owing to high inflation, rising interest rates and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Economists have warned of a slump in the world economy as countries battle soaring costs and central banks simultaneously hike interest rates to cool demand amid ongoing disruptions from the war in Ukraine.
The World Bank’s latest forecast points to a “sharp, long-lasting slowdown”, with growth pegged at 1.7 percent this year, roughly half the pace it predicted in June, according to its Global Economic Prospects report. With AFP