PSEi finishes flat as Php slightly weakens ahead of release of US non-farm payrolls report

MANILA- The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) finished Wednesday almost flat and the peso remained firm amid depreciation pull ahead of the release of the US non-farm payrolls report later this week.

PSEi gained 0.001 percent, or 0.04 points, to 7,294.56 points, boosted by the Services sector, through the telecommunications companies, which rose 2.56 percent.

All Shares ended the day at 4,401.30 points, up 0.73 points or 0.02 percent.

Property also rose by 0.42 percent while the Financials was flat.

However, Holding Firms, Industrial, and Mining and Oil fell 1.06 percent, 0.25 percent, and 0.20 percent, respectively.

Volume reached 1.01 billion shares amounting to Php 6.6 billion.

Losers led gainers at 98 to 81 while 49 stocks were unchanged.

The local currency ended Php 0.07 weaker at 50.34 from 50.27 Tuesday, which a trader pointed to investors' decision to let go some of their dollar holdings ahead of the February 2017 US non-farm payrolls report due on March 10.

The trader said the non-farm payrolls data would be among the economic reports the Federal Reserve will be looking at during its meeting on March 14-15.

Another report that will be considered is the jobless claims print, weekly data of which will be released on Thursday.

The trader said if these reports were positive then the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) might deliver a hike in the Fed rates, which some Fed officials have been signaling pending additional positive economic reports.

Another positive development is the trade deficit that China registered in February 2017, the first in three years, on back of the increasing imports, which in turn rose 38.1 percent in the second month this year.

The trader said China's trade deficit was a sign of the sustained economic improvement of the world's second largest economy.

The peso opened the day's trade at 50.26, better than the 50.34 in the previous session.

However, with the positive report from China combined with higher probability of a Fed rate hike this month, the peso fell to as much as its closing level while its opening level was the local unit's strongest for the day.

This brought the peso's average level for the day at 50.29.

Volume of trade reached USD 338 million, lower than the USD 481.5 million Tuesday.

The peso is seen to trade between 50.20 and 50.40 to a dollar Thursday.

Source: Philippines News Agency