Stocks decline to track Wall Street on Tillerson

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SHARES fell on Wednesday as the lack of catalysts in the local front, alongside tensions in the United States’ political scene, continued to put pressure on regional markets.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange (PSEi) index gave up 0.84% or 70.83 points to close at 8,348.74, while the broader all-shares index also dropped 0.61% or 31.31 points to 5,035.85.

“There’s still a lack of fresh leads and the political turmoil in the US is not helping matters in the region’s market including ours. The prospect of the US imposing hefty tariffs on imports from China is also causing concerns that other countries’ exports to the US may be affected,” PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said via text.

US President Donald J. Trump caused jitters abroad after firing Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, which analysts see as a move that will transform the country’s economic and foreign policy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.68%; the S&P 500 lost 0.64%; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.02% on Tuesday.

Back home, four sectoral indices moved to negative territory, with services suffering the largest decline at 1,733.27, lower by 1.73% or 30.66 points. Holding firms followed with a drop of 0.92% or 78.15 points to 8,360.37; financials edged 0.84% or 18.44 points lower to 2,170.76; while property declined 0.53% or 20.13 points to 3,759.91.

On the other hand, the mining and oil sector gained 0.80% or 91.09 points to close at 11,395.77, while industrials added 0.05% or 6.71 points to 11,590.59.

China Bank Securities, Corp. Research Director Garie G. Ouano, meanwhile, noted the sell-off in stocks of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. (JGS), which dropped 4.48% to P64 each.

“JGS was the top driver of the sell-off, likely due to the FTSE (Financial Times Stock Exchange) rebalancing to be implemented this Friday where JGS will be removed from the index,” Mr. Ouano said in a separate text message.

The Gokongwei-led firm along with Lopez Holdings Corp. will be removed from FTSE’s Small Cap and All Cap indices.

A total of 6.59 billion issues valued at P7.48 billion switched hands, higher than the P6.56-billion value turnover on Tuesday.

Decliners trumped advancers, 122 to 99, while 40 names remained unchanged.

Foreign investors maintained their selling position, with net foreign outflows swelling to P1.43 billion on Wednesday against net sales of P480.83 million in the previous session.

“For now, support remains at 8,300. If this is pierced, the next support level can be found at 8,150,” PNB Securities’ Mr. Lisbona said.

Most Southeast Asian stock markets slipped on Wednesday as the sacking of Mr. Tillerson and increased fears of a global trade war rattled investors.

Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan stumbled 0.70%, retreating from a 1-1/2 month high the index hit on Tuesday. — Arra B. Francia with Reuters