Stocks rose slightly Wednesday, as Asian investors joined their Wall Street counterparts in an equity buying spree on hopes the US Federal Reserve could temper its rate hike campaign.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, picked up 1 point to close at 5,988.59 as four of the six sectors posted gains.
The broader all-share index also went up 9 points, or 0.3 percent, to settle at 3,219.98 on a value turnover of P4.8 billion.
Five of the 10 most active stocks ended in the green, led by Eagle Cement Corp. which jumped 20.5 percent to P18.56. International Container Terminal Services Inc. advanced 3.7 percent to P171.10, while Globe Telecom Inc. added 3.2 percent to close at P2,218.00.
Most Asian markets also rose. The much-needed dose of optimism put pressure on the dollar, pushing it down against most of its peers and adding to the upward march in oil prices fueled by expectations OPEC will announce a massive output cut later in the day.
The mood on trading floors was lightened Monday by data showing US factory activity slowed more than forecast in September to a two-year low, suggesting the Fed’s rate hike campaign against decades-high inflation could be kicking in.
That was followed Tuesday by news that US job openings had also dropped by almost 10 percent in August, its fastest fall since April 2020.
“Rate hikes are really beginning to take a bite out of the US employment numbers,” said Matt Simpson, of City Index.
He added that the figures put more emphasis on jobs reports out later in the week, with weak readings likely to provide more support to stocks as investors bet the Fed will temper its tightening campaign.
However, officials at the central bank continue to flag their determination to crush inflation, even if that means sparking a recession.
“For the market to continue higher, the jobs data will have to be in-line with, or short of expectations,” said Lindsey Bell, of Ally Financial.
The market is currently anticipating a “Goldilocks” labor market report that’s “not too hot and not too cold”.
All three main indexes on Wall Street rallied Tuesday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq up more than three percent. European markets also thundered higher Tuesday, though they gave back some of those gains in early trade Wednesday. And Asia continued the run, with Hong Kong rocketing almost six percent as investors there returned from a one-day break, while there were also healthy performances in Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, Wellington, Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei, Jakarta and Manila.
“It’s been a very impressive relief rally, albeit one aided by a rose-tinted interpretation of certain economic indicators and a terrible plunge in the weeks before,” said OANDA’s Craig Erlam.
“This isn’t the time to get carried away but it is understandable that we’re seeing some relief. It all hangs on whether the data is the start of a weakening trend or just a blip, as with the July inflation drop.”
The gains in Asia were also helped by a smaller-than-expected rate hike by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
That came after the Bank of England last week pledged to pump billions of dollars into supporting financial markets after they were hammered by the UK government’s big-borrowing mini-budget.
The BoE pivot “seems to have convinced investors that the Fed now must give more weight to financial stability, which means that the current monetary tightening cycle might end sooner rather than later”, Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, said. With AFP