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Stocks rise as March cash remittances grow 3.2%

PHILIPPINE shares ended higher on Tuesday on data showing higher remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in March and continued bargain hunting.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 1.42% or 92.54 points to finish at 6,594.66 on Tuesday, while the broader all shares index improved by 0.78% or 27.37 points to 3,533.65.

“The local bourse extended its rally this Tuesday by 92.54 points (1.42%) to 6,594.66 as investors appreciated the Philippines’ March cash remittance [data]… The continuous growth in cash remittances is seen to help the local economy by giving a boost to demand, primarily household spending,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

Marc Kebinson L. Lood, Timson Securities Inc. head of online trading, said in a Viber message that the market closed higher due to bargain hunting after the PSEi hit 6,300 last week.

“It is also expected that the central bank will raise interest rates to protect the currency and keep inflation under control. Meanwhile, investors are looking at the very cheap market… as well as good first-quarter earnings from some blue-chip companies and growing OFW remittances, which support consumption,” he added.

Money sent home by OFWs rose by 3.2% in March, reflecting improved economic conditions in many host countries as pandemic restrictions eased.

Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday showed cash remittances sent through banks stood at $2.59 billion in March, up from $2.51 billion in the same month in 2021.

For the first three months of the year, cash remittances rose by 2.4% to $7.77 billion, from $7.59 billion in the comparable period last year.

The BSP expects remittances to grow by 4% this year.

Meanwhile, the BSP Monetary Board is holding a policy meeting on Thursday. A BusinessWorld poll of 17 analysts conducted last week showed they are divided on the BSP’s next move, with nine betting rates will remain un-changed, while eight are expecting a 25-basis-point hike.

Among sectoral indices, the lone decliner was services, which dropped 0.10% or 1.99 points to 1,857.51.

Meanwhile, holding firms went up 2.13% or 127.19 points to 6,098.08; property climbed 1.67% or 49.82 points to 3,026.86; financials increased 1.22% or 19.02 points to 1,573.59; mining and oil rose 0.65% or 70.87 points to 10,904.47; and industrials improved 0.59% or 54 points to 9,069.98.

Value turnover on Tuesday was at P7.32 billion with 1.17 billion shares switching hands, lower than the P8.06 billion with 678.36 million issues recorded on the previous trading day.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 109 versus 88, while 50 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling declined to P65.05 million on Tuesday from the P763.47 million recorded on Monday. — RMDO

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