November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

PSE index ekes out gains as June inflation slows

STOCKS eked out gains at the last minute on Wednesday, tracking the US futures market as Wall Street was closed for a holiday.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) traded mostly flat during the day before ending with a 0.19% gain or 14.88 points to 7,848.84.

The broader all-shares index rose 0.33% or 15.8 points to 4,712.70.

“Breadth continues to be positive for a third straight session, indicating investors are pouring in a decent amount into equities as the PSEi hit the 7,800 mark,” read Philstocks Financial, Inc.’s market recap report.

Advancers outnumbered losers at 114 to 87 on Wednesday, while 43 issues closed the session unchanged.

Value turnover reached P6.46 billion, higher from Tuesday’s P4.74 billion, as 1.61 billion shares changed hands.

“With inflation coming in slower for a second straight month, pressure on a possible rate increase eases back,” Philstocks Financial added, noting that the main index is seen to hover between 7,800 and 7,900, with economic data due this week expected to lean on the positive side.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported yesterday that inflation came in at 2.8% last month, easing from May’s 3.1% but still faster than the 1.9% tallied in June 2016.

The figure is likewise the slowest since January’s 2.7% print, and is softer than the 3% median forecast in a BusinessWorld poll among 13 economists last week. It also falls within the central bank’s 2.4-3.2% estimate range for June inflation.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said the local market likely echoed the sentiment of US futures market which were little changed as investors celebrated Independence Day.

“If history is any indication, markets are poised for a solid second half of the year. However, analysts are concerned that a legislative battle over health care and a slowing US economy could weigh on the equity markets,” Mr. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

The minutes of the June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee are also set to be released this week and are expected to shed light on the cautiousness expressed by at least one US central bank governor and a few regional presidents after the decline in price pressures in the past months.

All sectoral counters saw gains on Wednesday, albeit below 1% across the board.

Industrials led the charge, rising 0.53% or 59.26 points to 11,104.45; services climbed 0.30% or 5.19 points to 1,693.14; holding firms increased 0.26% or 21.12 points to 7,872.97; property edged up 0.08% or 3.06 points to 3,632.91; mining and oil went up 0.07% or 9.28 points to 12,648.84; and financials inched up 0.07% or 1.43 points to 1,938.75.

Foreigners, however, continued to dump their shares yesterday, with net selling coming in at P384.11 million, smaller than the prior trading day’s P508.48-million net outflow. -- Janina C. Lim