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Shares rise as inflation eases further in March 


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PHILIPPINE STOCKS climbed on Wednesday following the release of data showing that headline inflation eased further in March. 

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index rose by 16.47 points or 0.25% to close at 6,488.51 on Wednesday, while the broader all shares index went up by 4.78 points or 0.13% to end at 3,486.74. 

“The local bourse gained as March’s inflation rate eased compared to February’s figure. However, investors remained cautious as the core inflation in March was at 8.00%, higher than February’s 7.8%,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Analyst Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message. 

“Philippine shares outperformed the region as headline inflation for March came in better than expected at 7.6%,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message. 

Headline inflation eased to 7.6% from 8.6% in February, preliminary data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority on Wednesday showed. Still, this was faster than the 4% print in the same month last. 

March inflation was the slowest since the 6.9% recorded in September 2022 and was near the lower end of the 7.4-8.2% forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for the month. 

However, core inflation climbed to 8% from 7.8% in February, the highest since 8.2% in December 2000. 

For the first quarter, headline inflation settled at 8.3%, higher than the BSP’s forecast of 6% and the 2-4% target for the year. 

“Meanwhile, US equities slumped, ending the fourth successive streak, amid concerns on the broader economy. The OPEC+ (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies including Russia) production cut likewise adds up to the uncertainty and the current sentiment of investors,” Mr. Limlingan added. 

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 declined by 0.58% to end at 4,100.68 points; the Nasdaq dropped by 0.52% to 12,126.33 points; and the Dow Jones Industrial Average went down by 0.59% to 33,403.04 points. 

Back home, almost all sectoral indices went up on Wednesday except for mining and oil, which decreased by 231.65 points or 2.12% to 10,674.15. 

Meanwhile, holding firms climbed by 50.97 points or 0.80% to 6,350.39; financials rose by 6.90 points or 0.38% to 1,781.03; services increased by 2.32 points or 0.14% to 1,612.66; industrials went up by 1.90 points or 0.02% to 9,290.89; and property increased by 0.65 point or 0.02% to 2,743.97. 

Value turnover went down to P3.38 billion on Wednesday with 1.08 billion shares changing hands from the P3.99 billion with 2.40 billion issues traded on Tuesday. 

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 93 versus 71, while 59 names closed unchanged. 

Net foreign buying stood at P43.80 million on Wednesday versus the P238.40 million in net selling recorded on Tuesday. — A.H. Halili 

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