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PSEi flat as investors remain cautious

TRADING was nearly flat on Friday as investors remained cautious ahead of a key speech from the chairman of the US central bank this weekend and a meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping next week.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up by 0.51 percent or 40.58 points to end at 7,889.41, while the wider all shares rose by 0.27 percent or 13.23 points to finish at 4,770.38.

“Trading was thin once again, with many awaiting [Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome] Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole meeting,” Regina Capital Development Corp. head of sales Luis Limlingan said, referring to the annual gathering of central bankers and economists in the US state of Wyoming.

An expected meeting between Duterte and his Chinese counterpart also drove market sentiment, he added.

Investors have taken a wait-and-see approach ahead of Powell’s address, which will be parsed for an idea about the Fed’s plans for monetary policy.

There are hopes Powell would outline further cuts to borrowing costs, having done so last month for the first time since the financial crisis, but with the US economy in much better health than most others, analysts warn there could be some disappointment.

Meanwhile, Duterte will visit China on August 28 and meet with Xi to discuss their conflicting claims to the South China (West Philippine) Sea, as the former faces pressure to confront Beijing over its repeated incursions into Philippine waters.

Duterte is due to return to the country on September 2.

“Investors chose to stay at bay for now, buying selectively at close heading into the long weekend,” Limlingan said.

In the US, the Dow Jones was up by 0.19 percent, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq decreased by 0.05 percent and 0.36 percent, respectively.

Most Asian markets ended in the green, with Hong Kong leading at 0.67 percent. This was followed by Thailand, Shanghai and Tokyo, which rose by 0.63 percent, 0.49 percent and 0.40 percent, respectively.

Seoul and Singapore, meanwhile, dropped by 0.14 percent and 0.38 percent, respectively.

In Manila, all sectors ended in the green, except for property and mining and oil, which declined by 0.44 percent and 2.38 percent, respectively.

Over 31.24 million shares amounting to P895.64 million were traded.

Losers led winners, 109-93, while 48 issues were unchanged.


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