LOCAL STOCKS climbed on Thursday on improved market sentiment amid strong corporate financial results.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 43.44 points or 0.66% to close at 6,583.68 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index went up by 16.60 points or 0.47% to 3,508.86.

“The market was up due to upbeat corporate earnings, First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message.

“PSEi ended in green as sustained positive sentiment on Philippine banks along with an improving outlook on the country’s infrastructure sector outweighed the pressure from rising recession fears abroad,” Unicapital Securities, Inc. Senior Equity Research Analyst Carlos Angelo O. Temporal said.

Mr. Temporal said developments related to EEI Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. boosted the outlook for public-private partnerships and the government’s infrastructure spending.

“This boosted sentiment on banks given the potential upside of this to loan growth,” he added.

“Nevertheless, general sentiment remains cautious… as investors continue to gauge the odds of a global recession, anticipating April’s inflation data and the Fed’s meeting next month,” Mr. Temporal said.

April Philippine inflation data will be released on May 5.

Headline inflation eased to 7.6% in March from 8.6% in February. This was the slowest since the 6.9% print in September 2022.

For the first quarter, the consumer price index averaged 8.3%, higher than the central bank’s forecast of 6% and the 2-4% target for the year.   

Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve will meet to review policy on May 2-3.

Markets are expecting the Fed to raise its target interest rate by another 25 basis points (bps) next week.

The US central bank has hiked rates by 475 bps since March 2022, with the fed funds rate now at 4.75-5%.

Back home, the majority of sectoral indices closed higher on Thursday, except for mining and oil, which fell by 230.30 points or 2.12% to 10,603.03.

Meanwhile, financials went up by 41.60 points or 2.2% to 1,927.02; services increased by 15.51 points or 0.96% to 1,620.02; industrials rose by 43.87 points or 0.47% to 9,352.11; holding firms climbed by 8.60 points or 0.13% to 6,324.33; and property added 3.2 points or 0.11% to end at 2,708.50.

Value turnover fell to P4.69 billion on Thursday with 549.17 million shares changing hands, from the P5.45 billion with 766.97 million issues traded on Wednesday.

Decliners and advancers were split at 90 apiece, while 48 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign buying stood at P79.48 million on Thursday versus the P192.87 million in net selling on Wednesday. — AHH