• PSEi retreats to 8,500 on rate hike concerns


    The stock market lost nearly a hundred points on Thursday, falling back to the 8,500 level, as investors digested US Federal Reserve minutes that suggested further interest rate hikes.

    The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended the day down at 8,515.57, losing 1.14 percent or 98.08 points, while the broader All Shares dipped 0.14 percent or 6.96 points to 5,115.21.

    “The market is digesting/reacting to the Fed minutes. The Fed noted that economic growth is expanding at a moderate pace and labor conditions remain strong and inflation … is moving up to the Fed committee target of around 2 percent over the medium term,” IB Gimenez Securities, Inc. research head Joylin Telagen noted.

    “[This] boils down to the possibility of [a]further gradual increase in Fed rates depending on incoming economic data,” she added.

    Minutes of the Fed’s January 30-31 meeting showed that the US central bank could either accelerate or add to the three rate hikes expected this year as recent tax cuts were likely to boost economic growth.

    According to the minutes, the “stronger outlook for economic growth raised the likelihood that further gradual upward policy firming would be appropriate.”

    US stocks fell on the hawkish tone and most Asian markets followed.

    Eagle Equities, Inc. research head Christopher Mangun, however, traced the PSEi’s fall to declines for blue chips such as SM Investments Corp. (-3.55 percent), SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (-0.69 percent), Ayala Corp. (-2.50 percent), and Ayala Land, Inc. (-1.67 percent).

    “I don’t think the hawkish stance of the Fed has any effect on Philippine equities,” he said.

    A Regina Capital Development Corp. analyst, meanwhile, said rising US bond yields continued to assert pressure on Philippine stocks.

    Almost all sectoral indices were in the red on Tuesday except services, which inched up 0.009 percent.

    More than 2.96 billion issues valued at P10.45 billion changed hands.

    Losers led winners, 136 to 77, while 49 issues remained unchanged.


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