Stocks to move sideways ahead of key reports

STOCKS may move sideways this week ahead of scheduled data releases from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and as the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation continues to improve.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 44.44 points or 0.63% to close at 6,906.86 on Friday, while the broader all shares index went down by 16.33 points or 0.37% to end at 4,338.52.

Week on week, the benchmark PSEi inched up by 16.74 points from its 6,923.60 finish on Oct. 1.

“The week started strong as investors welcomed the reports of an improving COVID-19 situation in the country, as well as cheering over the recently released inflation data for the month of September,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a Viber message on Friday.

The PSA reported on Tuesday the country’s inflation print eased to 4.8% in September from the 4.9% recorded in August.

Meanwhile, the PSEi broke past the 7,000 level on Wednesday as COVID-19 infections in the country went below 10,000 last week. However, the index declined anew on Thursday and Friday due to profit taking.

For this week, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said the market is awaiting the government’s decision on restrictions for the rest of the month as the pilot implementation of the Alert Level System in the National Capital Region will lapse this week, Oct. 15.

Mr. Ricafort said investors will also monitor the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

According to the Health department’s national vaccination dashboard, the country has administered nearly 48.93 million COVID-19 jabs, with over 22.87 million individuals fully vaccinated as of Oct. 7.

“Market sentiment could also be shaped by some election-related leads, in view of the filing of certificates of candidacy,” Mr. Ricafort added.

The filing of candidacy for the 2022 national elections ended on Friday, with 97 candidates vying for the country’s top post, 29 individuals seeking the vice presidency, and 176 filing for their senatorial bids, among others.

“Investors may be looking forward to the string of economic reports scheduled for release in the coming week, to get a clearer picture of the current state of the local economy,” Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said.

The PSA is expected to report August trade data this week. Meanwhile, the BSP will also be releasing latest data on the country’s gross international reserves and remittances from overseas Filipino workers.

“Moving to another week, nearest support may be placed at the 6,780 area, while resistance can be drawn at the 7,065 level,” Mr. Pangan added. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte