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PSEi falls on faster-than-expected Nov. inflation

STOCKS ended lower on Friday as market players reacted to the higher-than-expected inflation print logged last month.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell by 59.57 points or 0.82% to close at 7,134.56 on Friday, while the broader all shares index decreased by 22.88 points or 0.53% to 4,250.37.

“(The PSEi and all shares index were) lower because market players reacted to the higher-than-expected CPI (consumer price index) print for November,” UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said in a text message.

Meanwhile, Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said the local bourse closed lower due to “profit taking, mixed signals from the US and a higher-than-expected inflation print.”

“Local and regional waded into heavy weather on Thursday with gains withering in the final hour of trading.

Speculation about COVID-19 vaccines and a US stimulus package under consideration weighed on sentiment,” Mr. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

The overall increase in prices of widely used goods accelerated to its fastest pace in 21 months, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Friday.

Preliminary PSA data showed headline inflation stood at 3.3% last month, picking up from the 2.5% in October and 1.3% in November 2019.

The latest inflation result marked the fastest pace in 21 months or since the 3.8% reading in February 2019. It also matched the 3.3% print in March 2019.

The latest headline figure was higher than the 2.7% median in a BusinessWorld poll conducted late last week and also exceeded the 2.4%-3.2% estimate given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for November.

Year to date, inflation settled at 2.5%, still within the BSP’s 2-4% target as well as the 2.4%-2.6% projection range by the Development Budget Coordination Committee for 2020. The BSP expects inflation to average at 2.4% this year.

Majority of sectoral indices at the PSE recorded losses. Holding firms decreased by 93.10 points or 1.24% to 7,382.98; property dropped 38.33 points or 1.06% to 3,575.87; industrials went down by 70.53 points or 0.75% to 9,246.63; mining and oil slid 16.52 points or 0.18% to 8,717.48; and services inched down 1.57 points or 0.10% to 1,532.11.

Only the financials sub-index climbed, picking up 6.88 points or 0.46% to 1,480.73.

Value turnover on Friday stood at P8.47 billion with some 12.6 billion switching hands, compared to the previous session’s P10.74 billion with some 3.65 billion issues.

Advancers led decliners, 121 to 103, with 49 left unchanged.

Net foreign selling declined to P269.08 million on Friday from the P476.98 million logged in the previous day. – A.Y. Yang

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