Shares flat, peso up

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    Share prices ended flat but on the negative side Monday as investors waited for more news to trade the market.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index was up 0.42 of a point to 5,909.32, a 0.007 percent hike.

    The broader all shares index was down 4.81 points to 3,458.77, a 0.14 percent drop.
    Losers edged gainers 58 to 138 with 42 stocks unchanged. Trading turnover reached P4.27 billion.

    The peso closed at 48.365 to the dollar, up from 48.395 on Friday.

    The currency opened at 48.38 and hit a high of 48.35 and a low of 48.39. Trading turnover reached $662.83 million.

    Reuters reported the Thai baht firmed to a three-week high on Monday, gaining along with most Asian currencies against a subdued dollar, while drawing relief from an anti-government protest passing off peacefully at the weekend.

    At the biggest demonstration in years, tens of thousands of protesters on Saturday cheered calls for reform of the monarchy as well as for the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader, and a new constitution and elections. The baht gained 0.4 percent, marking its best day since September 1, while local stocks also rose.

    Other Asian currencies firmed too. Indonesia’s rupiah extended Friday’s gains, rising 0.4 percent to its highest level since Sept 2.

    The currency has been pressured this month by concerns over rising coronavirus cases and mooted changes to the central bank law, which could threaten its independence, but a decision last week to keep interest rates steady seems to have settled some of the jitters.

    S&P Global signaled on Friday that Indonesia should handle any changes to the central bank law carefully to prevent any pressure on its markets and sovereign rating.

    Stock markets across the region were rangebound, as a spike in coronavirus cases locally and in Europe put a dampener on global sentiment.

    Risks of increased military tensions between the United States and China as some Washington officials visited Taiwan last week also added to concerns.

    Luis Limlingan, managing director at Regina Capital Development Corp., said the Philippine market was generally muted post the press conference by the Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell who said rates will stay low till 2023.

    “The Fed predicted rates will stay near zero through at least 2023 to help the economy rebound and expects to maintain an accommodative stance until inflation averages 2 percent over time,” Limlingan said.

    Most actively traded Now Corp. was up P1.19 to P3.58. Dito CME Holdings Corp. was up P0.36 to P4.12. SM Prime Holdings Inc. was up P0.95 to P29. Ayala Land Inc. was down P0.50 to P30.50. PLDT Inc. was down P8 to P1,375. Cirtek Holdings Philippines Corp. was down P0.19 to P5.76. Universal Robina Corp. was steady at P134. Bank of the Philippine Islands was down P1.30 to P64.20. Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. was down P0.06 to P1.22. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. was down P0.35 to P36.15.