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Shares up as Powell comments boost sentiment

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PHILIPPINE SHARES surged on Wednesday as dovish comments from the US Federal Reserve chief boosted sentiment.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 1.43% or 91.07 points to end at 6,450.03 on Wednesday, while the broader all shares index climbed by 0.93% or 32.46 points to close at 3,495.13.

“Philippine shares closed in positive territory yesterday after the Federal Reserve announced some progress in reducing inflation but indicated that it is not yet ready to lower interest rates,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

“The local market rose as investors hunted for bargains after a two-day decline. Positive cues from Wall Street also fueled Wednesday’s climb, with the bourse joining its neighboring peers in the green territory at the session’s close,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research and Engagement Officer Mikhail Philippe Q. Plopenio said in a Viber message.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 162.33 points or 0.41% to close at 39,331.85; the S&P 500 gained 33.92 points or 0.62% to 5,509.01; and the Nasdaq Composite gained 149.46 points or 0.84% to 18,028.76, Reuters reported.

Asian stocks rose on Wednesday as comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell reinforced expectations that US rate cuts were not far off.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.64% higher, boosted by tech stocks, while Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.4%, stalking the record high touched in March.

The US is back on a “disinflationary path,” Mr. Powell said on Tuesday, although he cautioned that policy makers need more data before they can consider cutting interest rates.

Traders are currently pricing in a 69% chance of the Fed cutting rates in September and as many as two rate cuts this year, a far cry from the more than 150 basis points of easing expected at the start of the year.

Almost all sectoral indices closed higher on Wednesday. Financials rose by 1.55% or 29.54 points to 1,929; services went up by 1.41% or 28.15 points to 2,021.71; holding firms climbed by 1.21% or 66.38 points to 5,527.89; industrials added 1.09% or 98.68 points to end at 9,081.88; and property gained by 1.06% or 26.75 points to end the session at 2,531.68.

Mining and oil was the lone decliner, dropping by 0.97% or 83.47 points to 8,507.08.

“Among the index members, BDO Unibank, Inc. was at the top, rising 4.2% to P133.90. Nickel Asia Corp. lost the most, dropping 3.16% to P3.68,” Mr. Plopenio said.

Value turnover slipped to P3.93 billion on Wednesday with 263.93 million shares changing hands from the P3.94 billion with 422.91 million issues traded on Tuesday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 95 versus 83, while 58 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign buying stood at P22.09 million on Wednesday versus the P310.09 million in net selling recorded on Tuesday. — RMDO with Reuters

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