Stocks rise on bargain hunting; peso weakens anew

The rise of the local stock barometer continued on Wednesday still due to bargain hunting but the peso weakened anew against the US dollar.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 0.32% or 19.67 points, to 6,148.31 points. All Shares followed with a jump of 0.40% or 13.11 points, to 3,266.62 points.

Most of the sectoral indices also gained during the day, as follows: Services, 1.50%; Industrial, 0.91%; Holding Firms, 0.26%; and Mining and Oil, 0.09%. On the other hand, Property declined by 0.54%, and Financials by 0.16%.

Volume remained thin at 379.72 million shares amounting to P4.15 billion. Advancers led decliners at 94 to 87 while 44 shares were unchanged.

Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation (RCDC) head of sales, said appetite is up ahead of the third quarter earnings report season.

“Recession fears and aggressive central banks have dragged U.S. markets to their lows, but the solid run to earnings season stateside may signal that the economy is currently on a better footing than feared,” he said.

Limlingan said investors are also awaiting the release of the housing reports along with the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, which is the central bank’s report on the current economic situation in the US.

Meanwhile, the local currency weakened to 58.945 to a US dollar from its 58.75 close a day ago. It opened the trade at 58.85, sideways from its 58.9 start on Tuesday. It ranged between 58.99 and 58.8, resulting in an average of 58.887.

Volume reached US$654 million, higher than the previous session’s US$610.8 million.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort traced the peso’s weakness partly to the deficit in the country’s balance of payment (BOP) position last September at US$2.3 billion.

He said the latest BOP figure is the widest in four years or since September 2018 due to record-high net imports, payments of foreign currency-denominated debts by the national government, and the foreign exchange operations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

In the first nine months of this year, the BOP position, which is the sum of a country’s total transactions with the rest of the world in a given period, is at a deficit of US$7.8 billion, higher than the US$665 million year-ago deficit.

Ricafort said hawkish statements from Federal Reserve officials, this time from Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, who said the Fed cannot stop its tightening moves even if the funds rates reached 4.5-4.75% unless core inflation in the US has stopped its rise.

He forecasts the peso to trade between 58.88-59.00 to a US dollar today, Thursday. (With PNA)