Main index ends flat ahead of key economic data

THE MAIN INDEX closed almost flat on Thursday after Wall Street declined and on window dressing as investors wait for the release of key economic data.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched down by 0.15 point to close at 6,566.39 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index rose by 12.71 points or 0.36% to 3,462.04.

For the year, the PSEi declined by 556.24 points or 7.81% from its close of 7,122.63 on Dec. 31, 2021.

“Philippine shares were able to remain flat despite the broad sell-off in the US, as recession fears weighed on investor sentiment in a losing week, month and year,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

“With 2022 in the books, investors started the last chance for window dressing. On Thursday, traders are expecting the latest data on weekly jobless claims before the bell,” Mr. Limlingan added.

Wall Street ended weaker on Wednesday due to mixed economic data, rising coronavirus cases in China, and geopolitical tensions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 365.85 points or 1.1% to 32,875.71; the S&P 500 lost 46.03 points or 1.2% to end at 3,783.22; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 139.94 points or 1.35% to 10,213.29.

“The PSEi closed at 6,566, which is relatively flat to its movement in the last shortened trading week of the year as investors remain absent in the market amid the holiday season,” Unicapital Securities, Inc. Equity Research Analyst Neil Andrew L. Maderaje said in a Viber message.

“Going into next year, investors wait for the first key economic data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), [which is] the release of December 2022 inflation data,” Mr. Maderaje added.

He said the PSEi may continue to move sideways in the first trading week of 2023 as investors are likely to remain cautious due to higher interest rates and global recession concerns.

Headline inflation is seen to settle within the 7.8% to 8.6% range in December due to higher electricity rates and rising prices of agricultural goods, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Thursday.

The PSA is likely to release December inflation data next week.

Most sectoral indices closed higher on Thursday, except for holding firms, which declined by 69.72 points or 1.07% to 6,433.27, and industrials, which lost 3.42 points or 0.03% to end at 9,351.16.

Meanwhile, property added 47.34 points or 1.64% to close at 2,928.71; mining and oil climbed by 103.62 points or 0.96% to 10,808.92; financials increased by 7.63 points or 0.46% to 1,645.03; and services rose by 6.94 points or 0.42% to close at 1,634.23.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 120 versus 68, while 49 names closed unchanged.

Value turnover surged to P6.17 billion on Thursday with 1.13 billion shares changing hands from the P3.7 billion with 1.09 billion issues traded on Wednesday.

Foreigners turned buyers on Thursday with P207.5 million in net purchases from P120.47 in million net selling recorded the previous trading day.

Mr. Maderaje placed the PSEi’s short-term support at 6,450 and resistance at 6,700. — J.I.D. Tabile