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PSEi falls below 8,000 amid Middle East uncertainty

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FILE photo of the Philippine Stock Exchange headquarters in Taguig City. Photo taken on Feb. 19, 2018. — PHOTO BY SANTIAGO JOSE J. ARNAIZ

PHILIPPINE stocks slipped below 8,000 on Friday as investors kept remained cautious amid rising tensions in the Middle East.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped 143.09 points or 1.78% to 7,899.98 points. The broader all-shares index shed 64.17 points or 1.32% to 4,794.65 points.

“A bloodbath marked the end to an anaemic trading week for the Philippine markets as several developments kept investors in a cautious stance,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message on Friday.

US President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday spooked markets after he warned “missiles will be coming” to Syria, as a response to an alleged chemical attack by the Russia-backed government.

The following day, Mr. Trump said he has not made a “final decision” on how to respond to the situation in Syria.

Moscow has warned against any action that could create a conflict between the United States and Russia.

“However, the uneasiness continues overall given the ever changing developments has led to thinner volumes and with some uneasiness as well,” Mr. Limlingan said, noting Mr. Trump has hinted of possibly re-joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership amid a trade spat with China.

“I think investors are really rattled by the escalating tensions in the Middle East right now so they are probably shifting their funds from equities to the commodities market,” Timson Securities, Inc. equity trader Jervin S. de Celis said in a mobile message on Friday.

Mr. de Celis said investors may be on the lookout for potential disruptions in oil supply and may even take advantage of the conflict in the oil-producing region as concerns over lack of supply may lift prices.

Trading volume continued to expand at 3.18 billion on Friday which was valued at P6.09 billion, well-above Thursday’s 1.45 billion valued at P5.94 billion.

Losers trumped winners, 134 to 76, while 43 names were unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers on Friday with net selling at P829.503 million versus Thursday’s net purchases at P152.80 million.

All counters ended Friday in negative territory.

Holding firms saw the biggest losses, slumping 233.30 points or 2.87% to 7,908.83 points; while the property counter fell 63.20 points or 1.72% to 3,604.93 points.

Industrials slid 95.06 points or 0.84% to 11,256.58 points; while services edged lower by 13.91 points or 0.84% to 1,635.66 points and mining and oil fell by 76.14 points or 0.68% to 11,168.81 points.

Financials dropped 5.21 points or 0.26% to 2,028.63 points. — Janina C. Lim