PHL shares drop as US inflation hits 31-year high

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Philippine Stock Exchange index

LOCAL STOCKS continued to decline on Thursday on concerns after US consumer prices in October posted their biggest annual gain in more than 30 years.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 44.03 points or 0.59% to close at 7,331.65 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index shed 11.63 points or 0.29% to 3,952.90.

“The PSEi corrected lower for the second straight day, after pre-pandemic highs… partly on the latest inflation concerns that could eat into the income or profit of consumer and businesses, including listed companies, that could also narrow profit margins at the same time,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

US consumer prices accelerated in October as Americans paid more for gasoline and food, leading to the biggest annual gain in 31 years, more signs that inflation could stay uncomfortably high well into 2022 amid snarled global supply chains, Reuters reported.

The consumer price index jumped 0.9% last month after climbing 0.4% in September, the US Labor Department said. The largest gain in four months hoisted the annual increase in the consumer price index to 6.2%. That was the biggest year-on-year rise since November 1990 and followed a 5.4% advance in September.

“The markets also anticipate the Nov. 15 deadline for substitution of candidates belonging to the same party… as well as progress on the timely 2022 national budget, which would help further sustain the economic recovery prospects through increased government spending especially on infrastructure to prevent the risk of a reenacted budget,” Mr. Ricafort added.

Investors also continued to price in the country’s latest gross domestic product data, First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a separate Viber message.

All sectoral indices closed in the red on Tuesday except for services, which went up by 0.97 point or 0.04% to finish at 2,005.71.

Meanwhile, property dropped 45.32 points or 1.35% to 3,312.74; mining and oil went down by 63.73 points or 0.64% to 9,848.8; industrials lost 60.80 points or 0.55% to finish at 10,858.67; financials gave up 8.69 points or 0.53% to 1,607.69; and holding firms declined by 30.93 points or 0.43% to 7,054.47.

Value turnover declined to P7.52 billion with 1.02 billion issues traded on Thursday, lower than the P11.16 billion with 1.17 billion shares seen the previous day.

Decliners beat advancers, 97 against 91, as 47 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers with P755.58 million in net outflows on Thursday from the P517.29 million in net purchases recorded on Wednesday.

For Friday, Ms. Ulang expects “bargain hunting to emerge on high hopes for looser restrictions under Alert Level 2” before shifting to Alert Level 1. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte with Reuters