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Peso ends flat, stocks slide anew

Local shares reversed its three-day rally yesterday, partly on new record-high domestic coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections but the peso managed to stay firm against the US dollar.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 0.55 percent, or 36.37 points, to 6,544.63 points.

All Shares declined by 0.23 percent, or 9.04 points, to 3,967.79 points.

Half of the sectoral indices tracked the main index namely Holding Firms, 0.88 percent; Financials, 0.75 percent; and Services, 0.64 percent.

On the other hand, Mining and Oil rose by 2.10 percent, Industrial by 0.23 percent, and Property by 0.11 percent.

Volume totaled 4.91 billion shares amounting to PHP6.28 billion.

Advancers led decliners at 101 to 92, while 49 shares were unchanged.

“Philippine shares closed lower as the number of Covid cases in the country reached an all-time high yesterday, while other investors returned to the US based on improving economic data and the resulting rise in Treasury yield,” Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation head of sales, said.

The Department of Health on Thursday reported that new Covid-19 cases reached a new record high of 8,773. Cases further rose to 9,838 yesterday.

Meanwhile, the peso ended the day almost unchanged against the US dollar at 48.49 from 48.48 a day ago.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation chief economist Michael Ricafort traced this partly to the “expected lapsing into law of CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act) by March 27, 2021.”

Ricafort identified other factors during the day’s foreign currency trading which are the expected arrival starting April of around one million Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by Sinovac and about 979,200 manufactured by AstraZeneca.

The expected rise of remittance inflows and its peso conversion during the Holy Week, and impact of the stricter quarantine measures in the National Capital Region and four nearby provinces, are the other factors, he said.

“Peso also (ended) stronger on improved global risk appetite, after the US initial jobless claims data eased/improved to the best levels in more than a year or since March 13, 2020, or since the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ricafort said.

He forecasts the peso to trade between 48.45 and 48.55 on Monday and between 48.35 and 48.60 for the whole next week.*PNA

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