Both the local bourse's main index and the peso ended with gains on Friday following the widely-expected pause in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) rate hiking cycle a day ago. The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 0.54 percent, or 35.91 points, to 6,664.55 points. All Shares followed with a jump of 0.39 percent, or 13.73 points, to 3,548.37 points. Most of the sectoral gauges also increased during the day namely Financials, 1.34 percent; Holding Firms, 0.77 percent; Mining and Oil, 0.49 percent; and Property, 0.22 percent. On the other hand, Services slipped by 0.22 percent and Industrial, by 0.09 percent. Volume reached 21.32 billion shares amounting to PHP5.77 billion. Both the advancers and decliners totaled 84 while 65 shares were unchanged. 'Philippine shares were bought up during the last trading day of the week as investors cheered for BSP's latest policy decision and the potential RRR (reserve requirement ratio) cut in June,' Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation (RCDC) head of sales, said. He said gold prices in the international market dipped anew 'after more strong economic readings from the US further soured bets that the Federal Reserve may ease up on interest rate hikes, with bullion also pressured by optimism for a debt ceiling deal.' Relatively, oil prices went down 'after solid US economic data spurred the dollar to a two-month high on growing expectations the US Federal Reserve could raise interest rates again in June,' he added. Gains in the local equities market was mirrored by the local currency after it finished the week's trading at 55.67 from Thursday's 55.87. It started the day's trade at 55.75, better than the previous session's 56.05 start. It traded between 55.76 and 55.62, resulting to an average of 55.708. Volume went down to USD979.6 million from day-ago's USD1.23 billion. Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said the local currency was buoyed by another rise of the PSEi and the BSP's decision to keep its key rates steady. He forecasts the peso to trade between 55.60-56.00 next week, while the projection for Monday is between 55.60-55.80.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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