Index ends flat as high inflation worries investors

Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - March 6, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Share prices closed flat yesterday as the high inflation data weighed on investor sentiment but on a week-on-week basis, the index snapped a three-week losing streak as the nation started its COVID-19 vaccination drive.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended at 6,881.37, down 1.12 points or 0.01 percent from Thursday’s close but up 1.3 percent on a weekly basis.

Likewise, the broader All Shares gauge finished at 4,158.54, down 4.68 points or 0.11 percent.

The sectoral indexes were a mixed bag, however with services, financials and property  finishing in positive territory while mining and oil, industrial and holding firms ending in the red.

Total value turnover reached P7.732 billion.  Market breadth was negative, 135 to 87, while 45 issues were unchanged.

“The local market fell as much as 53 points after February inflation reported at 4.7 percent, the highest level in 26 months. Week-on-week, the index is up 1.3 percent as the country started its vaccination drive. However, net foreign selling continued to persist,” AB Capital Securities Inc. said in a market commentary.

Around Asia, shares likewise slipped after surging US bond yields renewed pressure on high-flying technology companies.

Investors were disappointed with remarks by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday when he said inflation will likely pick up in the coming months, though he cautioned that the increase would be temporary and would not be enough for the Fed to alter low-interest rate policies set to help the economy recover from the pandemic.         – With AP

Powell did not indicate the Fed might seek to rein in rising bond yields, which tend to draw money out of stocks into less risky bonds.

Investors were hoping for “a little more hand holding” from Powell, Stephen Innes of Axi said in a commentary. “Powell is doing the bare minimum here while simultaneously hinting at a lift-off level that could be a lot nearer on the horizon than suspected only a few weeks ago.”

That angst has spilled into world markets that have thrived on massive monetary stimulus from the world’s central banks.                

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