THE Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) continued its retreat on Tuesday as investors continued to cash in on 10 near-successive record highs year to date since mid-September, with the benchmark index falling below the 8,300 line to its lowest level in three weeks.

The PSE index lost 68.4 points or 0.81% to end 8,279.92 – its lowest point since its 8,256.28 finish last Oct. 2, while the all-shares index gave up 30.47 points or 0.62% to close 4,855.32. The six sectoral indices remained equally divided between those that lost and those that gained, while foreign investors reverted to net selling mode.

“The market took a breather today, and investors took advantage of high valuations and took profits since we’ve managed to post decent returns for these past few sessions,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Senior Equity Analyst Lexter L. Azurin said in a mobile phone message yesterday.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said separately via text that local shares “naturally… faced some resistance again after yesterday’s (Monday’s) dip” after “US stock market indexes took a pause from a string of record highs on Monday as major benchmarks came under pressure, with traders weighing the prospects for tax cuts and a mixed bag of earnings results.”

While all Wall Street retreated from last week’s record highs, many markets across Asia gained, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and TOPIX Index, the Shanghai-Shenzhen CSI 300, South Korea’s KOSPI, Jakarta Composite, S&P/ASX 200 and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific rising by 0.50%, 0.67%, 0.73%, 0.02%, 0.28%, 0.06% and 0.09%, respectively.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, however, dropped by 0.53%.

Local sectoral indices that gained consisted of mining and oil which increased by 212.25 points or 1.64% to finish 13,079.94, services which rose by 3.41 points or 0.2% to 1,702.16 and industrials that edged up by 4.15 points or 0.03% to end 10,852.46.

Those that lost were financials which gave up 35.26 points or 1.72% to close 2,009.09, holding firms that went down 104.15 points or 1.22% to 8,422.76 and property which dropped 17.8 points or 0.45% to finish 3,913.08.

The list of Tuesday’s 20 most actively traded stocks saw Security Bank Corp.; Bloomberry Resorts Corp. and BDO Unibank, Inc. leading those that lost with falls of 4.23% to P249, 3.66% to P9.75 and 3.48% to P136 apiece, respectively. PLDT, Inc.; D&L Industries, Inc. and Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. led those that gained, adding 2.05% to P1,740, 1.39% to P10.20 and 1.09% to P93 apiece, respectively.

Yesterday saw stocks that lost still outnumbering those that advanced, 113 to 80, while 50 others were unchanged. Yesterday saw thinner trades, consisting of 670.66 million shares worth P7.89 billion compared to Monday’s 744.19 million stocks worth P13.29 billion. Tuesday saw P1.17-billion net foreign sales compared to Monday’s P7.57-billion net buying that had followed three straight trading days of net selling last week. – JCL