Hopes for a pause in rate hikes lift PH shares

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The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) extended gains on Friday on hopes the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) would no longer increase interest rates for the year after Thursday’s 75-basis point hike.

The PSEi ended the session higher by 0.53 percent, or 33.64 points, to 6,437.38 while the broader All Shares index added 0.24 percent, or 8.03 points, to 3,396.63.

The BSP’s latest hike, on top of stronger movements by the Philippine peso, might convince monetary authorities to slow the pace of tightening, according to Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president George Barcelon.

“Seemingly, with the peso strengthening, I think it’s a good sign that inflation is being tamed,” Barcelon said.

The session saw modest trading activity with 570.4 million shares valued at P5.33 billion changing hands.

Foreigners continued to snap up shares with net buying reaching P652.3 million, data from the stock exchange showed.

Meanwhile, all Philippine stock exchange subsectors rose, led by financials, property, services, industrial, mining and oil and holding firms.

Ayala Land Inc. was the top traded stock as it rose 4.21 percent to P29.70 per share.

It was followed by SM Investments Corp., down 0.92 percent to P859; BDO Unibank Inc., up 0.31 percent to P128.90; SM Prime Holdings Inc., down 1.73 percent to P34; and Jollibee Foods Corp., up 0.83 percent to P244 per share.

PLDT Inc. rose 0.06 percent to P1,579; International Container Terminal Services Inc., up 2.06 percent to P188; Ayala Corp., down 0.37 percent to P665.50; Bank of the Philippine Islands, up 1.77 percent to P97.50; and Universal Robina Corp., down 0.23 percent to P131.90 per share.

Overall, there were 106 advancers against 67 losers while 40 companies closed unchanged, data from the stock exchange showed.

—Miguel R. Camus

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