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Stock market flat; investors stay wary

The stock market bucked a regional rally on Monday with analysts pointing to continued investor caution over the possibility of fresh Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) rate hikes as inflation hit a fresh five-year high in June.

Talk of a loan scandal at listed Metropolitan Bank and Trust Corp. (Metrobank) was also a factor, an analyst said, as the Ty-led bank saw its share price fall by over 2 percent despite denying the rumor.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dipped 0.001 percent or 0.09 points to close at 7,186.62 while the broader All Shares declined 0.05 percent or 2.04 points to finish at 4,385.30.

Papa Securities Corp. equity trader Gio Perez said Monday’s trading was reflective of a general hesitance sparked by last week’s June inflation report.


Consumer price growth accelerated to 5.2 percent from 4.6 percent in May, breaching the BSP’s 4.3-5.1 percent forecast and sparking fears of more policy rate hikes following two successive 25-basis point adjustments in May and June.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis Limlingan pointed to the possibility of a new interest rate hike as soon as next month and also tagged a newspaper item that blamed a Metrobank share price drop over the past few days on rumors of a new loan scam.

The country’s second-largest bank denied the report, telling the PSE that “there is no new loan scam” and also confirming a quote from a senior executive denying the allegation.

Metrobank shares still slid by 2.72 percent or P1.90 to P67.85 apiece.

“The company already made a statement that these are just rumors but it did not prevent the sell-off today,” Limlingan noted.

The bank was sanctioned by the BSP last year following an internal fraud case — blamed on a ranking official said to have defrauded the bank of as much as P1.75 billion.

The financial sector still ended in the green on Monday, up 0.42 percent.

Results across sectors were mixed, with services, industrial, and mining and oil posting declines for the day.

Volume turnover was thin with just 606 million issues valued at P3.38 billion changing hands.

Losers led winners, 105 to 81, while 49 issues were unchanged.

FROM A REPORT BY ANGELICA BALLESTEROS

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