By Adrian H. Halili
THE Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed higher on Thursday on improving sentiment as the US Federal Reserve hinted at a possible pause in interest rate increases.
The PSEi went up by 1.17% or 77.66 points to close at 6,684.35, while the broader all-share index rose by 0.8% or 28.46 points to 3,553.64.
“Investors took last night’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement as bullish in a way,” Mercantile Securities Corp. Head Trader Jeff Radley C. See said in a Viber message.
“Investors continued to buy into market ahead of the Philippine inflation report and after the Fed hiked rates by another 25 basis points (bps),” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last week said April inflation had likely settled at 6.3%-7.1%.
This could have been slower than 7.6% in March, but would surpass the central bank’s 2%-4% target for the 13th straight month.
Meanwhile, the US Fed raised federal fund rates by 0.25 bps to 5-5.25%.
The US central bank has raised interest rates by 500 bps since March 2022. The next monetary policy meeting is expected on June 14.
“The FOMC hinted at a pause in the hiking cycle by removing ‘the committee anticipates that some additional policy firming may be appropriate’ from the post-meeting statement,” Mr. Limlingan said.
Markets are also waiting for key economic reports. “Initial jobless claims are due Thursday. Friday’s main event will be April’s payroll report. On the other hand, the local bourse’s attention is now shifted to the upcoming release of the latest local consumer price index reading this Friday,” he added.
Back home, all sectoral indices rose. Property went up by 2.08% or 57.12 points to 2,795.85; mining and oil increased by 1.5% or 159.11 points to 10,753.51; and industrials jumped by 1.47% or 138.56 points to 9,563.62.
The financial subindex climbed by 1.15% or 21.84 points to 1,908.54; holding firms rose by 0.55% or 35.81 points to 6,490.49; and services inched up by 0.32% or 5.17 points to 1,600.84.
Value turnover fell to P4.54 billion with 683.77 million shares changing hands. Decliners outnumbered advancers 97 versus 96, while 45 were unchanged.
Net foreign selling rose to P376.5 million from P120.07 million on Wednesday.
Mr. See placed the PSEi’s resistance levels at 6,735, 6,830, and 6,963.