Local stocks slip as investors look for fresh leads

PHILIPPINE HARES nded nearly flat on Tuesday as investors stayed on the sidelines amid a lack of fresh leads and ahead of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) policy meeting this week.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) slipped by 1.44 points or 0.02% to end at 6,448.90 on Tuesday, while the broader all shares index inched down by 1.70 points or 0.04% to close at 3,439.54.

“Philippine shares traded flat before the US reopened as investors are trying to gauge how last week’s strong market sentiment will hold up in a shortened trading week that is light on economic data,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

“On the other hand, local shares are still on the sidelines before the next central bank meeting, wherein many widely expect that the Monetary Board will keep the benchmark rate untouched,” he added.

Papa Securities Equity Strategist Manny P. Cruz said in a Viber message that stocks ended only slightly lower as last-minute buying trimmed intraday losses.

“For most of the day, the bourse has been trading in the red territory due to weakness in European equities amid renewed inflation worries in England due to sticky inflation and a tight labor market… Investors remained apprehensive ahead of the latest Monetary Board meeting,” Mr. Cruz said.

The BSP is expected to keep benchmark interest rates steady for a second straight meeting on Thursday after inflation eased further last month and the US Federal Reserve likewise paused its tightening cycle last week.

All 15 economists in a BusinessWorld poll held last week expect the Monetary Board to maintain the overnight repurchase rate at 6.25% during its June 22 meeting.

If realized, this would be the second straight meeting the BSP will leave interest rates untouched. The central bank had raised borrowing costs by 425 basis points from May 2022 to March 2023 to help bring elevated inflation down.

Headline inflation slowed to 6.1% in May from 6.6% in April. Still, this marked the 14th straight month that inflation breached the central bank’s 2-4% target.

For the first five months, inflation averaged 7.5%, well above the BSP’s 5.5% forecast for the year.

Most sectoral indices went up on Tuesday except for property, which dropped by 31.74 points or 1.2% to 2,607.61, and financials, which declined by 5.54 points or 0.3% to 1,830.04.

Meanwhile, services rose by 14.14 points or 0.92% to 1,536.71; mining and oil increased by 77.73 points or 0.78% to 9,997.45; holding firms went up by 22.91 points or 0.36% to 6,387.30; and industrials climbed by 10.52 points or 0.11% to end at 9,164.12.

Value turnover went up to P4.75 billion on Tuesday with 715.78 million shares changing hands from the P4.22 billion with 483.71 million issues traded on Monday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 92 versus 81, while 47 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling dropped to P302.71 million on Tuesday from the P496.22 million recorded on Monday. — A.H. Halili