PSEi climbs to 8,100 level ahead of BSP decision

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By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

STOCKS RECOVERED on Thursday even as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the central bank’s first policy meeting of the year.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) bounced back to the 8,100 level yesterday, climbing 0.51% or 41.85 points to close at 8,100.30. The broader all-shares index likewise rose 0.26% or 13.09 points to 4,906.57.

“Index remained quiet for most of the day as the market awaited on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) decision on its policy rate this afternoon — with consensus expecting rates to remain steady,” Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez said in an e-mail.

After the market’s close, the BSP announced it left key interest rates unchanged during its policy review on Thursday, keeping the overnight borrowing rate at 4.75%. The central bank earlier said that it would need more time to review its policy after inflation slowed faster than market expectations.

The January headline inflation print stood at 4.4% versus a market consensus of 4.5%.

“The PSE continues to trade sideways ending the day flat, up half a percent right at the 8,100 level. Second-liners are still in the spotlight as blue chips take a break,” Eagle Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in a separate e-mail.

The PSEi defied the negativity seen overseas, as Wall Street’s major indices all ended with losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.08% or 21.22 points to close at 25,390.30. The S&P 500 index went down 0.22% or 6.09 points to 2,731.61, while the Nasdaq Composite index tumbled 0.36% or 26.80 points to 7,375.28.

Meanwhile, most Asian indices closed higher on Thursday, although markets in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan remain closed for the Lunar New Year.

Back home, four sectoral indices moved to positive territory, led by holding firms which jumped 1.06% or 84.21 points to 8,015.31. Financials followed with an increase of 0.25% or 4.64 points to 1,857.82. Property firmed up 0.17% or 6.87 points to 4,008.42, while mining and oil added 0.47 point to 8,739.77.

In contrast, industrials shed 0.04% or 5.06 points to 11,794.32, while services slipped 0.03% or 0.61 point to 1,619.90.

Some 3.43 billion issues valued at P7.42 billion changed hands, slightly higher than the previous session’s P7.32-billion turnover.

Despite the PSEi’s increase, market breadth favored decliners at 115 versus 96 advancers and 47 stocks that ended flat.

Net foreign inflows went down to P610.59 million on Thursday from Wednesday’s net purchases worth P947.17 million.

“We got the closing above 8,100 sooner than I expected. From a technical standpoint, the market is extremely healthy and if we get any excitement, we might just see it shoot up to the next resistance at 8,200,” Eagle Equities’ Mr. Mangun said.