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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

PH stocks jump on window dressing, easing ME tensions

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The main composite index of the Philippine Stock Exchange opened the week in the green, closing above the 6,700 level, on window-dressing and dwindling tension in the Middle East.

The bellwether PSE index jumped 140.89 points, or 2.12 percent, to close at 6,769.64, while broader all-shares index gained 50.53 points, or 1,45 percent, to 3,543.28.

“Philippine shares returned near the 6,800 as month-end window-dressing and geopolitical concern continued to wash away,” Regina Capital Development Corp. head of sales Luis Limlingan said.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. head economist Michael Ricafort said the easing tension in the Middle East also helped allay concerns about inflation rate as global crude prices recently dropped to three-week lows.

Foreign buying helped lift the market, according to Philstocks Financial Inc research analyst Claire Alviar.

The market registered net inflow of P1.1 billion, while net market value turnover stood at P4.68 billion.

All sectoral indices ended in the green except for the mining and oil index which slipped 0.81 percent.

Meanwhile, the yen swung in volatile trade Monday as it surged soon after hitting a fresh 34-year low against the dollar, fueling speculation Japanese authorities had intervened to support the currency for the first time since late 2022.

The dollar’s rally came as another forecast-topping US inflation report dented hopes for US Federal Reserve interest rate cuts this year.

The yen slipped to 160.17 to the greenback in volatile morning trade, with liquidity thin amid a holiday in Japan.

It later bounced back to 154.95, stirring speculation that authorities had intervened to arrest its slide. With AFP

Tony Sycamore, at IG Australia, said: “The move has all the hallmarks of an actual Bank of Japan intervention, and what better time to do it” than during a holiday when liquidity was low.

Masato Kanda, vice minister of finance for international affairs, offered no comment to reporters on Monday.

The currency has come under renewed pressure after the Bank of Japan refused to tighten monetary policy further at its meeting last week.

Officials have repeatedly said they are ready to step in if there are wild movements in the exchange rate, citing speculators as a key issue.

However, observers were skeptical that a first intervention since late 2022 would have much of an impact.

“Expectations of intervention having a sustained impact may disappoint given macro fundamentals do not support a sudden shift to a hawkish monetary stance,” said National Australia Bank’s Tapas Strickland.

Lombard Odier’s Homin Lee added: “Pressures will remain on the currency until we get more downbeat growth and inflation data in the US and clearer hawkish shift at the BoJ.

“We still think we are quite close to the Finance Ministry’s intervention, in light of the recent rhetoric on excessive currency market moves.”

Meanwhile, equity markets rose following a rally on Wall Street as strong earnings offset the hotter print on the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index.

A rally in tech titans — boosted by forecast-beating reports from Microsoft and Alphabet — helped push all three main indexes higher in New York, with the Nasdaq piling on two percent.

The readings soothed worries that the recent markets rally, which has been partly fanned by optimism over earnings, may have been overdone.

The advance in the PCE followed a third straight jump in the consumer price index.

That, along with push-back by Fed decision-makers warning against cutting too soon, led investors to revise their outlook for how many reductions there would be this year.

They now expect just one, having priced in as many as six at the start of 2024.

The bank’s latest policy announcement this week will be pored over for fresh guidance on officials’ plans for monetary policy.

“With all measures of US consumer prices showing a steep acceleration over the past three to four months, the (policy board) is bound to row back hard from its earlier predictions of meaningful policy easing this year,” said Societe Generale economists.

However, they added: “That said, markets have already scaled back pricing of rate cuts drastically, so unless chair (Jerome) Powell plays up the possibility of rate hikes, the market damage is likely to be modest.”

After the positive lead from Wall Street, most of Asia’s markets advanced.

Hong Kong extended its rally into a sixth straight day, while Shanghai, Mumbai, Sydney, Seoul, Taipei, Manila, Jakarta and Wellington were also in the green.

London, Frankfurt and Paris were also up in the morning. With AFP

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