PSEi snaps 4-day rally

Posted at | Updated as of 09/13/13 1:26 AM

 MANILA, Philippines - Philippine stocks fell on Thursday, amid concerns the Federal Reserve will cut its economic stimulus program soon.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index settled at 6,195.61, down 0.31%.

The day's biggest losers included water concessionaire Manila Water, which fell 3.5% to P31; and Maynilad's owners Metro Pacific and DMCI. Metro Pacific plunged 7.8% to P4.70, while DMCI dropped 4.44% to P46.25.

This after the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System rejected the rate hike petitions of Manila Water and Maynilad. Instead, the water concessionaires were ordered to reduce their rates.

Power utility Meralco also fell 1.87% to P273.40, while Philex Mining slid 7.6% to P9.12 after unveiling a P13 billion stock rights offering.

At the foreign exchange market, the peso weakened by 10 centavos, closing at 43.89 against the US dollar.

Asian stocks broadly higher

Asian markets were mostly higher on Thursday as investors took a breather after a rally at the start of the week, but Tokyo slipped on profit-taking and a stronger yen.

Hopes that the United States and Russia would be able to make a deal that will avoid a US-led military strike on Syria provided buying support as markets awaited fresh trading cues.

Tokyo dipped 0.26 percent, or 37.80 points, to 14,387.27. Seoul ended flat, edging up just 0.21 points to 2,004.06, and Sydney added 0.15 percent, or 8.1 points, close to a five-year high of 5,242.5.

Shanghai ended 0.64 percent higher, adding 14.34 points to 2,255.61, while Hong Kong was flat, edging up 16.58 points to 22,953.72.

Global markets have been buoyant over the past week following the release of strong data out of China indicating an economic slowdown has come to an end, while Japanese growth was also showing signs of perking up.

Japan's Nikkei fell as investors cashed in after a more than four percent rally since Monday that was fuelled by an upward revision in April-June economic growth and Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

Exporters were also sold as the yen rebounded against the dollar. The greenback, which peaked at 100.60 yen on Wednesday, saw a sell-off.

The dollar fell to 99.54 yen, compared with 99.92 yen late in New York and well off the 100.50 yen seen on Wednesday in Tokyo. The euro fetched $1.3302 and 132.40 yen against $1.3314 and 133.03 yen in US trade.

Investors were hoping the United States and Russia would be able to reach a deal that will see Syria hand over its chemical weapons and avert an attack from American forces.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was due to meet his Russian counterpart in Geneva as the two sides seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis, which was sparked by the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons on its own civilians.

Global markets were recently sent into a tailspin on expectations the US would lead a strike.

Wall Street provided a mostly positive lead, with the Dow up 0.89 percent and the S&P 500 rising 0.31 percent. However, the tech-driven Nasdaq dipped 0.11 percent, dragged down by a 5.4 percent loss for Apple as investors were left unimpressed by its latest iPhone release.

Attention will now turn to Washington and next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting, where board members are expected to decide on the future of the bank's huge stimulus programme.

Market consensus is that the Fed will begin to wind down the $85 billion-a-month bond-buying as the US economy shows signs of strengthening.

However, a weaker-than-forecast jobs report last week has sparked speculation that the bank will only reduce its buying by about $10 billion a month.

On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October, fell 18 cents to $107.38 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for October added 17 cents to $111.67.

Gold cost $1,342.80 an ounce at 0835 GMT compared with $1,361.73 late Wednesday. - With ANC and Agence France-Presse