Shares decline anew ahead of TRAIN enactment

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THE MAIN INDEX yesterday failed to sustain the prior session’s gains, as investors awaited President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s signing of the ratified tax reform bill that came only minutes after the market’s close.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 0.67% or 56.86 points to 8,365.96 on Tuesday. The all-shares index was also down by 0.15% or 7.65 points to 4,902.14.

“Investors were anxious awaiting developments brought about by the ratification of the TRAIN or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), which is the Duterte administration’s tax reform package. President Duterte signed this officially by the end of trading so the full reaction may be felt during the next trading period,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said.

With the signing of the first package of the tax reform program, the country will see a new taxation scheme starting Jan. 1. Highlights of the new program include higher take home pay for those earning up to P250,000 per year, higher taxes on cars, fuel, tobacco, cosmetic surgery, and sweetened beverages.

The first of five tax reform packages will generate P130 billion in revenues for the government, which will partially finance the Duterte administration’s P8-trillion infrastructure program.

RCBC Securities, Inc. equity analyst Jeffrey Lucero meanwhile attributed the market’s decline to window dressing, which is typical toward the year’s end.

“I think the decline has something to do with window dressing. If you noticed, the top decliners today TEL (PLDT, Inc.), JGS (JG Summit Holdings, Inc.), URC (Universal Robina Corp.) under-performed the PSEi on a year-to-date basis. So funds are probably getting rid of these under-performing stocks ahead of year-end reports,” Mr. Lucero said in a text message on Tuesday.

The property sector was the lone sub-index that gained, adding 0.19% or 7.38 points to close at 3,900.11.

Services led the day’s decline as it gave up 1.83% or 29.74 points to 1,594.36. This was followed by mining and oil, which lost 1.34% or 152.99 points to end at 11,202.22; financials ended 1.17% lower or 25.44 points to 2,143.77; industrials dropped 1.03% or 115.58 points to 11,089.73; while holding firms saw a 0.30% decrease or 25.81 points to 8,482.98.

A total of 1.56 billion issues valued at P6.87 billion changed hands, higher than Monday’s total value turnover of P5.66 billion.

Losers outpaced advancers yesterday, 116 to 89, while 47 names closed the trading session unchanged.

Net foreign selling on Tuesday stood at P186.94 million, slightly lower than Monday’s P196.2-million outflow.

Meanwhile, in Asia, Indonesian shares hit a record high on Tuesday with financials and consumer goods driving the gains, while Malaysian stocks were headed for a third straight session of decline. — Arra B. Francia with Reuters