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PSEi rebounds as Fed minutes signal gradual hikes

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PSE BGC bells

THE MAIN INDEX snapped its six-day losing streak on Thursday, accelerating after the US Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes hinted on gradual interest rate hikes for the rest of the year.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went back to the 7,600 level Thursday, May 24, climbing 1.21% or 92.06 points to finish at 7,652.53.

The broader all-shares index likewise rose 0.76% or 35.35 points to close at 4,647.35.

“Philippine stocks recovered to end the session higher, after the Federal Reserves’ May 2 meeting confirmed that policy makers support a June rate increase and are maintaining a calm attitude about the inflation outlook,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

The Fed released the minutes of its May meeting on Wednesday, which included hints of a possible rate hike at their June policy review.

“There was bargain hunting after the Fed released its minutes of the meeting that they will pursue a gradual interest rate increase policy, which is favorable to emerging markets like the Philippines. This resulted in the appreciation of the peso, and the lowering of the 10-year US yields to less than 3%,” Diversified Securities, Inc. equities trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a phone interview.

Wall Street indices ended in positive territory following the release of the minutes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 0.21% or 52.40 points to 24,886.81. The S&P 500 index picked up 0.32% or 8.85 points to 2,733.29, while the Nasdaq Composite index firmed up 0.64% or 47.50 points to 7,425.96.

Mr. Pangan added that news of more rate hikes improved sentiment among local investors.

Four sectoral indices were gainers, led by financials, which jumped 2.27% or 42.19 points to 1,894.05. Holding firms advanced 1.26% or 93.27 points to 7,474.32, while property added 0.95% or 36.35 points to 3,838.13. Services also went up by 0.30% or 4.62 points to 1,518.91.

Meanwhile, the mining and oil counter lost 2.48% or 247.68 points to 9,710.33, after Semirara Mining and Power Corp. dropped 2.59% or 75 centavos to close at P28.20 each. Industrials was also down by 0.09% or 9.99 points to 10,895.03.

Some 1.72 billion issues switched hands for a total turnover of P6.23 billion, higher than Wednesday’s P5.88 billion.

Decliners still trumped advancers, 109 to 74, while 57 issues closed flat.

Foreign investors remained sellers, although net outflows slimmed to P131.27 million from P649.85 million in the previous session.

In the region, most Asian stocks closed lower on Thursday as investors remained cautious of recent developments on the US’ trade war with China.

US President Donald J. Trump has signaled a new direction in US-China trade talks and said any deal would need “a different structure,” fueling uncertainty over current negotiations.

In an early Wednesday morning post on Twitter, Mr. Trump said the current track appeared “too hard to get done” and cited difficulties. — A.B. Francia with Reuters