PSE index extends slide on US retail sales report

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By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

THE Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) took another beating on Thursday, falling by almost 10% from its latest record high logged in January, tracking regional markets as the United States saw weaker retail sales data.

The main index plunged 1.9% or 158.73 points to finish at 8,190.01 yesterday, while the broader all-shares index also dropped 1.37% or 69.41 points to 4,966.44.

Thursday’s close puts the index 9.58% below its all-time high record of 9,058.62 last Jan. 29.

“The main factor was that the US market was down substantially last night because of the unexpected retail sales, it was below the estimate,” Diversified Securities, Inc. equities trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a phone interview on Thursday.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan noted the same, adding that trade war concerns also continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

“Philippine markets continued their slump as Wall Street posted sizable losses once more, with trade war concerns being at the center once again of attention. Much of the protectionist concern stemmed not only from the actions taken so far, but the prospect of further action, directed specifically at China,” Mr. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

US’ main indices were down on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by a percentage point to 24,758.12. The S&P 500 index lost 0.57% to 2,749.48, while the Nasdaq Composite index also gave up 0.19% to 7,496.81.

In the local front, Diversified Securities’ Mr. Pangan said the faster inflation posted in February remained to be a factor for the PSEi’s slump.

“Also the inflationary pressures that were caused by tax reform, next week we’ll see if the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) will adopt any change in the interest rate, considering inflation rate was beyond the range of 2-4%, based on 2006 base,” Mr. Pangan said, noting that inflation was still on the higher end of the government’s target despite adjusting the base to 2012.

The mining and oil sector was the lone sub-index that ended in positive territory, adding 0.06% to 11,403.05. The rest declined, led by property which shed 2.8% or 105.35 points to 3,654.56. Holding firms sunk 1.89% or 158.32 points to 8,202.05; industrials dipped 1.47% or 170.55 points to 11,420.04; financials slipped 1.21% to 2,144.48; while services were down 0.52% or 9.08 points to 1,724.19.

Some 8.14 billion issues valued at P7.59 billion switched hands, slightly up from the previous session’s turnover of P7.48 billion.

Decliners outpaced advancers, 118 to 92, as 47 issues remained unchanged.

Net foreign outflows persisted the 18th straight day at P1.40 billion, slightly lower than net sales of P1.43 billion on Wednesday.