The stock market rose Friday on bargain hunting and after President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and four neighboring provinces under the more lenient general community quarantine status starting May 15.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index gained 32.96 points, or 0.5 percent, at 6,269.36 on a value turnover of P11.1 billion. Losers, however, outnumbered gainers, 152 to 50, with 52 issues unchanged.
SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group rallied 4.3 percent to P963.50, while PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, added 1.6 percent to P1,270.
Megaworld Corp., the largest lessor of office spaces, sank 7.8 percent to P2.60, while Philippine National Bank, the fifth-biggest lender in terms of assets, tumbled 24.4 percent to P21.55.
Bargain-buying, meanwhile, helped most Asian markets recover some of this week’s steep losses, with investors tracking a rally on Wall Street and taking heart from a forecast-beating jobless claims report, though inflation fears continue to cast a dark cloud over trading floors.
Tokyo piled on more than two percent and the heavily tech-weighted Taipei index climbed one percent after suffering massive losses this week.
Shanghai jumped 1.8 percent, Hong Kong put on 1.1 percent, Seoul added slightly less while Sydney also edged up.
However, Singapore slid nearly three percent as a spike in infections in the city puts an already once-delayed travel bubble with Hong Kong in doubt. Wellington, Mumbai and Bangkok were also slightly down.
Global equities have been convulsed for months by expectations that a blockbuster global recovery will send prices rocketing, forcing central banks—particularly the Federal Reserve—to taper the ultra-loose monetary policies that have helped drive a rally for more than a year.
Despite pledges from top central bank officials that the spikes are temporary owing to last year’s low base and that they will not move until unemployment is under control and inflation is running consistently hot, investors have been preparing for what they see as the inevitable.
That has seen them sell firms at risk from higher interest rates, such as in the tech sector, and buy those that benefit, like financials.
The scorching inflation narrative was reinforced this week with US consumer prices coming in far above estimates on Wednesday, followed by data Thursday showing the wholesale price index at its highest since comparable records began in 2010.
“This bigger-than-expected rise does suggest that we will probably get another two or three months of high inflation prints,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson. He added that would also present the Fed with “a problem, with so many people starting to get nervous that base effects may not be able to explain all of the upward pressure on prices”.
Eyes are now on the release of retail sales later in the day.
Still, after days of selling, investors were ready to jump back into the fold, analysts said, helped by the release of a report showing new jobless claims in the world’s top economy came in below expectations and fell to their lowest level since the pandemic began.
The Dow and S&P 500 both rose more than one percent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq also enjoyed healthy gains. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasuries—a key gauge of future inflation—also eased. With AFP