Stocks rose slightly Friday after the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that inflation rate in April decelerated to an eight-month low of 6.6 percent.
The PSE index, the 30-company benchmark of the Philippine Stock Exchange, picked up 1 point to close at 6,685.66 as four of the six subsectors advanced, led by holding firms.
The index representing all shares also rose 2 points to settle at 3,556.06 on a value turnover of P11.45 billion. Gainers outnumbered losers, 103 to 95, while 42 issues were unchanged.
Six of the 10 most active stocks ended in the green, led by Converge ICT Inc. which jumped 5.03 percent to P11.70 and ACEN Corp. which went up 2.49 percent to P6.17.
Meanwhile, the peso barely moved to close at 55.30 against the US dollar Friday.
In Asian markets, Hong Kong stocks finished higher as major markets elsewhere attempted a rebound following a day of losses driven by interest rate hikes and a banking sector sell-off.
US equities futures were trading in the green a day after all three major US indices finished sharply down thanks to banking sector turmoil and another quarter-point hike from the US Federal Reserve.
Markets in Europe were also up in early trade, having dropped on Thursday after the European Central Bank joined the Fed in hiking rates.
Hong Kong finished half a percent higher after paring early gains, with tech and property companies among the big winners.
Shanghai, however, shed nearly half a percent as fears of an uneven recovery set in and a less-than-stellar earnings season failed to impress traders.
Sydney, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur were also up, while Wellington, Mumbai, Jakarta and Singapore were down. Tokyo and Seoul were closed for holidays.
Shares in HSBC were down in Hong Kong trade but up in London as the bank headed into what is expected to be a contentious shareholder meeting in the UK on Friday.
Its largest shareholder, Chinese insurer Ping An, has called for HSBC to split itself up and create a separately listed bank headquartered in Hong Kong — a proposal HSBC is urging other shareholders to vote down.
Shares in regional US lenders plunged on Thursday, with PacWest plummeting 50.6 percent, Western Alliance slumping 38.5 percent and First Horizon losing 33.6 percent amid lingering fears for the health of the sector. Short-selling was making matters worse.
But in after-hours trade on Friday, PacWest was up 14.5 percent from Thursday’s close, Western Alliance was up almost 10 percent and First Horizon was up almost six.
The sell-off in PacWest had been exacerbated by media reports saying the bank was considering the possibility of a sale or other capital-raising measures in the wake of the recent collapse of other mid-sized lenders.
The bank sought to assure investors it had not “experienced out-of-the-ordinary deposit flows”, and that its “cash and available liquidity remains solid”, but its shares still tanked.
SPI Asset Management’s Stephen Innes described the dynamic taking place in banking stocks as “a highly coordinated and predatory short sellers landscape… with short sellers in battalion fashion moving from one weak link in the daisy chain to the next”.
Investors are now wondering whether the banking rout will convince the Fed to begin cutting interest rates sooner than planned.
“We do believe the US interest rates are peaking and we should see a decline,” Irene Goh, head of multi-asset solutions for Asia-Pacific at abrdn, told Bloomberg Television.
“However, the decline or easing of monetary policy should probably come only when a recession hits.” With AFP