The stock market bounced back Wednesday on profit taking ahead of what is expected to be the biggest Federal Reserve interest rate hike in more than two decades.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 81.65 points, or 1.2 percent, to 6,802.73 on a value turnover of P6.9 billion. Losers, however, beat gainers, 124 to 64, with 54 issues unchanged.
SM Prime Holdings Inc. of the Sy Group advanced 5 percent to P36.75, while noodles maker Monde Nissin Corp. climbed 3.7 percent to P13.90.
Fiber broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. increased 3.3 percent to P28.20, but Globe Telecom Inc., the second-biggest telecommunications firm, fell 2.3 percent to P2,222.
The rest of Asian equities fell in Asian trade Wednesday in nervous trading.
With inflation showing little sign of easing from its 40-year highs, the US central bank has set itself on a hawkish course of tightening this year, sending shivers through world markets.
The prospect of higher borrowing costs has been compounded by a range of crises including the war in Ukraine, elevated oil prices and China’s COVID lockdowns that have strangled crucial global supply chains.
The Fed now has to walk a fine line between getting control of surging prices and making sure it does not knock the recovery in the world’s top economy off course.
“The Fed remains very focused on bringing inflation down, however, any further hawkish pivots will likely be tempered to some extent by the desire to achieve a soft landing,” said Blerina Uruci at T. Rowe Price.
The Fed is expected to announce a half-percentage point lift Wednesday—its biggest since 2000—but boss Jerome Powell’s post-meeting news conference will be closely watched for an idea about future hikes.
Speculation was swirling that 75 basis points could be on the table at some point this year.
“Powell will fall back to ‘we are not on pre-set rate hikes’ or something along those lines—’we go in with an open mind each meeting and will talk it over and we’ll see where we go from there’,” said Tony Farren, managing director at Mischler Financial Group.
“The market would take that as hawkish. For his comments to seem dovish, he’d have to shut down the talk of 75 basis points. And while I don’t think he’ll endorse it, I don’t think he’ll shut it down.”
After a broadly positive lead from Wall Street, Asian markets struggled in holiday-thinned trade.
Hong Kong, Sydney, Seoul, Mumbai and Singapore slipped, but Taipei rose while Wellington was flat.
Tokyo, Shanghai, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok were closed.
Oil prices rose after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said the European Union would impose a gradual Russian oil ban in retaliation for the war in Ukraine.
The news offset the expected hit to demand from China’s coronavirus lockdowns, including in the country’s biggest city, Shanghai.
A huge release of crude from reserves by dozens of countries including the United States has also helped keep prices tempered.
Investors are waiting for a meeting Thursday of OPEC and other major producers including Russia, where they will discuss whether or not to lift output more than expected. With AFP