Stocks retreated Friday after another contraction in the US economy reinforced recession fears but boosted expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow its pace of interest rate hikes.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 63.33 points, or 1 percent, to 6,315.93 on a value turnover of P18 billion. Losers beat gainers, 116 to 74, with 50 issues unchanged.
Manila Electric Co., the biggest retailer of electricity, sank 7.1 percent to P340, while fiber broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. dropped 3.6 percent to P19.
SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group declined 3.1 percent to P775.50, but International Container Terminal Services Inc. of business tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., the largest port operator, rose 2.4 percent to P194.20.
The rest of Asian stocks were mixed Friday.
After an extended period of pessimism on trading floors fueled by soaring inflation and the US central bank’s monetary tightening campaign, investors are beginning to speculate that the market may have reached its nadir.
The world’s top economy shrank 0.9 percent in April-June following a 1.6-percent retreat in the first quarter, as it was buffeted by the four-decade-high spike in inflation and rising borrowing costs.
But the reading was taken as a sign of good news, as it could give the Fed room to take its foot off the pedal, with Treasury yields—considered a barometer of future interest rates–easing.
Officials are expected to continue lifting rates, but analysts estimate they will announce a 50-basis-point rise in September, compared with 75 at the past two meetings.
And some analysts said the quick, sharp pace of increases would allow the bank to begin cutting sooner in 2023. Others said any recession would likely only be shallow and short.
The news saw all three main indexes on Wall Street rally more than one percent, with tech firms—which are susceptible to higher rates—leading the way.
The gains extended a rally Wednesday that came after Fed chief Jerome Powell hinted that the bank could start to take it easier in its tightening.
Most of Asia followed suit in early trade but struggled to maintain the momentum as the day progressed.
Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore all fell. Hong Kong was also buffeted by a tech selloff, led by Alibaba after traders grew worried about its upcoming earnings report.
Sydney, Seoul, Mumbai, Taipei, Jakarta and Wellington rose.
The prospect of US rates not rising as fast as previously expected hit the dollar, which has soared in recent months against most other currencies.
The greenback dropped below 133 yen Thursday for the first time since mid-June, having hit a 24-year high of 139.39 yen just two weeks ago.
A second successive contraction is widely considered a technical recession, though it is not officially considered so in the United States until identified as such by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
But while debate rages over that issue, the consensus is that the economy is struggling.
“The more important point is that the economy has quickly lost steam in the face of four-decade high inflation, rapidly rising borrowing costs, and a general tightening in financial conditions,” wrote Sal Guatieri, of BMO Capital Markets. With AFP