• Inflation uptick weighs on PSEi


    The stock market fell for the fifth straight session on Tuesday after the government reported higher-than-expected inflation for February.

    The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dipped by 0.31 percent or 25.95 points to close at 8,360.22. The broader All Shares shed 0.20 percent or 10.17 points to end at 5,033.72.

    “Philippine markets closed lower as the lack of any positive developments led investors to sell down the market a fifth consecutive trading day,” a Regina Capital Development Corp. analyst said.

    “Investors were also surprised to see that based on the 2006 bases, inflation for February came in at 4.5 percent, much higher than the 4.2 percent consensus expectations on the street,” he added.

    The 4.5-percent result was up from January’s 4.0 percent and breached the government’s 2.0-4.0 target inflation range for the year.

    Consumer price growth was a lower 3.9 percent using a new data series but the rise was still the highest in over three years.

    Faster increases in food, beverage and tobacco prices were said to have driven inflation and Papa Securities Corp. deputy research head Arabelle Maghirang raised the possibility a policy rate hike when the Monetary Boar meets on March 22.

    “In contrast, other Asian markets rallied as fears of a potential trade war eased. We think the index will likely trade sideways with a major support at the 8,050 level, near the low of 8,051 last December,” Maghirang also said.

    Locally, only the services sector posted gains at the closing bell, up 0.56 percent.

    Over 4.5 billion issues valued at P8.6 billion changed hands.

    Losers led winners, 122 to 93, while 45 issues remained unchanged.


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