PSE ends week a loser on interest rate hike threat

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The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) tripped 1.22 percent by the close of Friday’s session, ending the week lower with trading haunted by the prospect of higher interest rates after the central bank hinted it might start tightening its monetary policy gradually.

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Harry Liu, president of Summit Securities Inc., told The Manila Times in a text message investors had opted to take profit upon news that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) favors early, measured adjustments to its policy rate-setting.

Many other investors also kept to the sidelines ahead of the BSP interest-rate policy meeting on March 27, which is expected to consider the US Federal Reserve asset tapering moves.

Liu said the deadline in April for the income tax return filing also prompted investors to take their cash and stay out of the market for now.

The PSEi on Friday fell 1.22 percent or 78.09 points to 6,339.26, while the wider all shares index dropped 0.84 percent or 32.57 points to 3,840.27.

Property was the only advancer, posting a 0.37-percent increase or 9.06 points to 2,427.81, while the other sectors retreated.

Financials declined 1.06 percent or 16.31 points to 1,525.59, while industrials dipped 0.52 percent or 51.49 points to 9,842.02 and holding firms lost 1.72 percent or 100.99 points to 5,763.19.

Mining and oil eased 0.14 percent or 20.61 points to 14,519.20, while services fell 1.44 percent or 27.70 points to 1,894.91.

Most active advancers include Ayala Corp., up 0.63 percent at P562.50, Universal Robina Corp., up 0.57 percent at P140.50, and Alliance Global Group Inc., up 0.18 percent at P27.95. Petron Corp. was also actively traded but the price stood steady at P13.8.

Most active decliners were JG Summit, down 5.24 percent at P47; GT Capital Holdings Inc., by 2.12 percent at P808.50; PLDT by 2.47 percent at P2,680; and Metrobank by 0.06 percent at P80.

Losers matched the number of gainers at 79, with 47 unchanged issues.

Total volume was 1.4 billion shares, valued at P13.3 billion.

On Thursday, the PSEi shed 0.07 percent or 45.14 points to finish at 6,417.35, while the broader all shares index eased 0.89 percent or 34.87 points to 3,872.84.

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