Peso ends flat, stocks up on Covid-19 vaccine rollout

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended Monday higher while the peso finished unchanged against the US dollar partly on optimism on the start of the government vaccination program against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The main equities gauge rose by 1.15 percent, or 78.11 points, to 6,872.97 points.

Other indexes followed with the All Shares up by 1.10 percent, or 45.10 points, to 4,165.40 points.

Holding Firms led the sectoral indexes with a jump of 1.39 percent, and was trailed by the Industrial, 1.002 percent; Property, 0.97 percent; Financials, 0.91 percent; Mining and Oil, 0.53 percent; and Services, 0.45 percent.

Volume totaled 8.72 billion shares amounting to PHP8.34 billion.

Gainers led losers at 149 to 76, while 48 shares were unchanged.

“Local shares edged up with signs of improving economic conditions spurring bargain hunting across the board,” Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation head of sales, said.

He cited as among the factors for investors’ optimism the stable rise of the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) in the Philippines, which stood at 52.5 last February.

An index above 50 means expansion while figures below 50 indicates contraction.

He said the country’s PMI slipped below the 50-mark last year due to the pandemic.

Limlingan also cited the positive development in the US, particularly the improvement of the University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment, which rose by 0.6 points last February to 76.8 in the final reading, a turn-around from the 2.8-point decline in the preliminary reading.

Meanwhile, the peso closed the week’s first trading day flat at 48.59 against the US dollar.

It opened the day at 48.6, better than its 48.75 in the previous session.

It traded between 48.67 and 48.54, resulting in an average of 48.601.

Volume totaled to USD678.45 million from USD1.325 billion last Friday.

In a reply to e-mailed questions from PNA, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said the local currency closed Monday to among its strongest in a week “but nevertheless, still among the weakest in four months.”

He cited the contribution of the arrival of the first batch of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines, the 600,000 doses of Sinovac-produced CoronaVac donated by China, on Sunday, and the start of the inoculation Monday.

Ricafort said this development “could help improve economic recovery prospects, going forward.”

“Further reopening of the economy would lead to faster pick up/recovery in the economy as well as in imports, as an offsetting factor on the peso,” he said.

Ricafort forecasts the peso’s next resistance level to between 48.70-48.80 levels while immediate major support is at the 48.20-48.30 levels which, he said, “preserve the underlying upward trend over the past two weeks.”

Source: Philippines News Agency

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