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Shares end lower on inflation fears, trade data

STOCKS declined on Thursday on inflation fears due to high oil prices and a weaker peso and following the release of local trade data for April.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped by 11.03 points or 0.16% to close at 6,758.59 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index went down by 4.18 points or 0.11% to 3,600.66.

“The market declined as inflation worries dominated sentiment amid the rising international oil prices and the weakening of the peso,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said most regional markets were down due to higher oil prices that could continue to cause inflationary pressures.

Oil prices gave up early gains on Thursday after parts of Shanghai imposed new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown measures, outweighing news of China’s stronger-than-expected exports in May, Reuters reported.

Brent crude futures for August dipped 15 cents or 0.1% to $123.43 a barrel at 0630 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude for July was at $121.91 a barrel down 20 cents or 0.2%.

Both benchmarks closed on Wednesday at their highest since March 8, matching levels seen in 2008.

Meanwhile, Philstocks Financial’s Mr. Tantiangco said investors also priced in the latest trade data.

The country’s trade-in-goods deficit narrowed in April as import growth eased to 13-month low, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday.

Preliminary PSA data showed the value of merchandise exports grew by 6% year on year to $6.129 billion in April.

Meanwhile, the country’s merchandise imports rose by 22.8% to $10.902 billion that month.

This brought the April trade-in-goods deficit to $4.773 billion, wider than the $3.098-billion shortfall recorded a year ago but narrower than the $5.007-billion gap in March.

Year to date, the trade balance ballooned to a $18.668-billion deficit, from a $11.442-billion trade gap in the comparable four months last year.

The majority of sectoral indices ended in the red except for industrials, which gained by 98.32 points or 1.06% to 9,293.68.

Meanwhile, services declined by 28.53 points or 1.54% to 1,819.16; mining and oil fell by 152.46 points or 1.22% to 12,269.82; holding firms lost 20.35 points or 0.32% to end at 6,254.18; financials gave up by 3.65 points or 0.22% to finish at 1,621.52; and property dropped by 1.59 points or 0.05% to 3,179.40.

Decliners beat advancers, 97 versus 79, while 56 names ended unchanged.

Value turnover dropped slightly to P5.29 billion with 827.76 million shares changing hands from the P5.37 billion with 744.91 million issues seen the previous trading day.

Net foreign selling climbed to P349.61 million on Thursday from the P156.68 million seen on Wednesday. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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