Peso gains anew; PSEi closes lower
The Manila Times
THE peso started the week on a positive note, but the stock market ended a three-day rally and fell back below the 6,200 level as investors awaited fresh data. The currency strengthened by 12 centavos to P55.55 against the dollar, while the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) sank by 28.26 points, or 0.46 percent, to 6,183.63. The broader All Shares dropped by 0.58 percent, or 19.45 points, for a 3,305.32 finish. The peso opened trading at P55.54:$1 and ranged from P55.45 to P55.56. Volume reached P1.511 billion, higher than the P1.177 billion recorded in the previous session. Michael Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said news that the country’s balance of payments (BoP) remained in surplus had lifted the currency. “The peso was also stronger on [a] continued decline in the US dollar versus major global currencies after mostly softer US economic data” that could lead to the US Federal Reserve’s extending a rate pause and cutting rates in 2024, he added. Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis Limlingan, meanwhile, said the bourse opened quietly as traders awaited BoP results and updates from the US, particularly the minutes of the Fed’s last meeting. Philstocks Financial Inc. research associate Claire Alviar said the PSEi closed in the red due to the “lack of a strong positive catalyst.” A 3.04-percent drop in the share price of SM Investments Corp. also “exerted additional pressure on the market due to its substantial weight.” Despite the overall decline, the services and property sectors managed to close in the green, increasing by 0.42 percent and 0.07 percent, respectively. Holding firms and financials were the biggest losers, dropping the most by a respective 1.15 percent and 0.95 percent. Volume improved to just over 690.85 million shares worth some P3.79 billion. Decliners overwhelmed advancers, 119 to 66, while 42 were unchanged.