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Shares rebound despite faster March inflation

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PSE BGC bells

By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

LOCAL EQUITIES firmed up on Thursday despite faster inflation recorded in March.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 0.30% or 24.49 points to close at 8,022.16.

The broader all-shares index also edged higher by 0.13% or 6.42 points to finish at 4,864.45.

“Philippine markets closed on a slightly positive despite the higher-then-expected inflation, the sudden closure of Boracay, and issues surrounding contractualization,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Thursday that prices of basic goods and services accelerated by 4.3% in March, beyond the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)’s 2-4% target. Price increases were noted in food and non-alcohol beverages, alcoholic beverages and tobacco, among others.

This brought first quarter’s average inflation to 3.8%, toward the higher end of the BSP target.

“So far, the PSEi has been struggling to find support above 8,000 as local inflation rose beyond the general consensus. This may scare off investors because this rapid rise may be indicative of an overheating economy,” Timson Securities, Inc. equity trader Jervin S. de Celis said in a mobile phone message.

Mr. De Celis said the index may just be resting from its decline, but noted that it may further drop to the 7,500 to 7,700 level this quarter.

The Department of Labor and Employment’s order on Jollibee Foods Corp. to regularize around 7,000 employees also continued to weigh down prices of its shares, losing 1.75% to P280 each. JFC said it is talking with the labor department on the matter.

Sectoral indices were equally split between losers and advancers today, April 5.

The holding firms counter led the day’s gainers, adding 0.63% or 50.41 points to close at 8,031.02. Financials rose 0.24% or 4.92 points to 2,049.83, while property climbed 0.23% or 8.67 points to 3,696.21.

Mining and oil meanwhile gave up 1.75% or 200.22 points to 11,237.91. Services shed 0.28% or 4.66 points to 1,653.81, and industrials dropped 0.13% or 14.7 points to 11,295.39.

Trading thinned to P5.77 billion today from Wednesday’s P6.11 billion after some 4.02 billion issues switched hands.

Decliners beat advancers, 104 to 82, while 55 issues closed flat.

Foreign investors were back in selling territory, recording net sales of P211.64 million, against net inflows of P57.46 million on Wednesday.

Overseas, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.96% or 230.94 points to 24,264.30. The S&P 500 index gained 1.16% or 30.24 points to 2,644.69, while the Nasdaq Composite index climbed 1.45% or 100.83 points to 7,042.11.

Most Asian indices also posted an uptick today, tracking the upward movement of their international counterparts.