LOCAL EQUITIES slumped on Wednesday as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy decision due to be released early Thursday, Philippine time.
The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down 0.21% or 16.94 points to close at 7,915.29, extending the previous session’s losses, while the broader all-shares index similarly slipped 0.16% or 7.77 points to 4,786.43.
“Investors remained cautious for another session as the U.S. Federal Reserve began its two-day monetary policy meeting,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.
The Federal Open Market Committee is holding a two-day policy meeting during which it is widely expected to cut key interest rates by 25 basis points.
Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez also attributed the market’s performance to anticipation of the Fed’s decision.
“Resistance remains at 8,000 for the last two days of the week. Events to watch out for would be the aforementioned Fed meeting, and the turnout of the FTSE (Financial Times Stock Exchange) rebalancing soon,” Mr. Perez said in an e-mail.
Sectoral indices were equally divided between gainers and losers. Those that lost consisted of property, which plunged 1.15% or 46.68 points to 4,009.42; industrials which dropped 0.93% or 103.92 points to 10,957.73; and services shed 0.78% or 12.66 points to 1,594.24. In contrast, holding firms climbed 0.54% or 42.87 points to 7,898.44; financials rose 0.47% or 8.54 points to 1,796.41; while mining and oil edged up 0.32% or 30.89 points to 9,416.29.
Some 451.06 million issues switched hands valued at P6.74 billion, improving from the previous session’s P5.21 billion.
Stocks that lost beat those that gained, 107 to 90, while 43 issues were unchanged.
Foreign net outflows persisted at P206.65 million, slightly less than Tuesday’s P214.15 million.
Fourteen of the 20 most active stocks ended the day with losses, with Jollibee Foods Corp. falling the most at 3.21%. Shares in International Container Terminal Services, Inc.; Megaworld Corp. and Ayala Land, Inc. plunged 2.48%, 1.56%, and 1.54%, respectively. The same list showed six gainers, led by Phima Energy Corp. (3.77%) and Nickel Asia Corp. (2.44%).
The PSEi failed to mirror Wall Street’s positive performance overnight, with investors also anticipating the Fed’s decision. The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 0.13% or 33.98 points to 27,110.80. The S&P 500 index added 0.26% or 7.74 points to 3,005.70, while the Nasdaq Composite index firmed up 0.40% or 32.47 points to 8,186.02.
Asian stocks were mixed, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix indices down by 0.18% and 0.49%, respectively. The Hang Seng index slid 0.17%, the Shanghai Composite gained 0.25%, while South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.41%. — Arra B. Francia