PH stocks index slips, peso sustains sideways close vs. US dollar

MANILA – Optimism at the start of the Biden administration made investors prefer US assets resulting in the negative close of the Philippine Stock Exchange index Friday but the peso sustains its sideways close against the greenback.

The main equities index shed 1.32 percent, or 94.46 points, to 7,045.83 points.

All Shares index declined by 0.92 percent, or 39.29 points, to 4,241.69 points.

Most of the sectoral gauges also ended the week down, namely Property, 1.61 percent; Financials, 1.39 percent; Holding Firms, 1.33 percent; and Services, 1.22 percent.

On the other hand, Mining and Oil rose by 0.77 percent and Industrial by 0.07 percent.

Volume totaled to 135.08 billion shares amounting to PHP11.39 billion.

Losers surpassed gainers at 117 to 104 while 39 shares were unchanged.

“Local shares were hammered down near the 7,000 psychological support as investors shifted their focus towards the US, where optimism picked up on plans of (US President) (Joe) Biden to combat the pandemic,” Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation head of sales, said.

He also noted the drop in oil prices in the international market “as actual figures of US Crude inventories exceeded consensus forecasts, reigniting concerns on the commodity’s demand.”

On the other hand, the peso ended the week sideways to a greenback at 48.085 from 48.054 a day ago.

It opened the day at 48.07 and traded between 48.095 and 48.06. This brought the day’s average at 48.076.

Volume surged to USD1.09 billion from the previous day’s USD599.4 million.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort attributed the peso’s close partly to the daily rise of coronavirus infections above 2,000, with the January 22, 2020 figure at 2,178, the highest in more than a month; and the closure of Nissan’s car assembly operations in the country and the Makati Shangri-La, which were traced to the impact of the pandemic.

News about the lockdowns in Hong Kong, due to Covid-19 infections, and the warning from the Biden administration of more infections in the near term also affected sentiments, he said.

Next week, the currency pair is seen to trade between 48.03 and 48.14, with the forecast for Monday seen between 48.05 and 48.12.

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