By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

STOCKS traded sideways for lack of leads on Wednesday, causing the local barometer to fall below the 8,000 mark for the first time in six days.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index peaked at 8,028.90 before dropping 17.18 points or 0.21% to end 7,998.75, while the broader all-shares index barely moved as it ended 0.72 points or 0.01% down to 4,736.44.

“I think the market’s just doing… consolidation between 7,750 and 7,780 with a resistance of 8,100. So the market continues its medium-term consolidation, waiting for something more, waiting for a catalyst, some good news that can perk up demand,” Summit Securities, Inc. President Harry G. Liu said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The market saw 762.817 million shares worth P5.70 billion change hands, compared to Tuesday’s 921.44 million issues worth P6.12 billion.

Mr. Liu, however, would not blame the past two days’ listless trading on the Aug. 22 to Sept. 19 ghost month during which investors refrain from making big bets.

“Of course, people would say the ‘ghost month’ just started, but I don’t think the ghost month has anything to do with this recent situation except that some foreign fund managers are out-of-town vacation, so maybe when they get back there might be more activity,” Mr. Liu said.

Sought separately for comment, IB Gimenez Securities, Inc. equities analyst Joylin F. Telagen noted “there are just no market-moving news within the next two weeks.”

“I will expect PSEi to be bobbing just around 8,000 to add to really short trading days over the next two weeks,” she added.

Yesterday saw four of the six sectoral indices end with gains, mining and oil increasing by 92.82 points or 0.72% to 12,953.58, services rising by 8.52 points or 0.5% to 1,711.36, property climbing 12.64 points or 0.33% to 3,773.85 and industrial firms adding 17.66 points or 0.15% to finish 11,139.6.

Two remaining two subindices ended in the red, with holding firms declining by 44.59 points or 0.56% to 7,813.63 and financials dumping 4.27 points or 0.21% to close 2,000.52.

Shares that advanced outnumbered those that declined by 99 to 88, while 59 issues were unchanged.

Foreign investors snapped their 10-day buying streak on Wednesday, taking a net selling position at P327.87 million. In comparison, Tuesday’s net foreign buying amounted to P12 million — the smallest volume in 10 days.

Stocks that declined yesterday included International Container Terminal Services, Inc.; GT Capital Holdings, Inc. and BDO Unibank, Inc. whose prices fell by 0.47% to P105.50 apiece, 0.88% to P1,120, and by 0.54% to P127.90.

Those that increased included SM Prime Holdings, Inc.; Nickel Asia Corp. and Bloomberry Resorts Corp. that gained 1.32% to P34.55 each, 6.16% to P6.89, and by 1.58% to P10.28 apiece.