By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

SHARES are seen to trade lower this week as investors reposition their portfolios, with eyes set on the release of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the first package of the tax reform program.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) finished last week flat at 8,814.62, posting an increase of just 0.01% or 1.37 points. Week on week, the market gained 0.51% or 44.62 points.

This climb was supported by a 3.2% uptick in financials and 0.80% rise in services. Decliners outpaced advancers 110 to 96 week on week.

Foreign investors continued their buying spree last week, as net foreign inflows averaged at P500 million. The market was valued at P37.64 billion.

Analysts noted the market would be taking pauses in the coming weeks in preparation for its rise to the 9,000 level.

“We saw somewhat of a pullback last week which I think is going to continue into [this] week as we create a base between the 8,500 and 8,700 to build more momentum to breach 9,000. If [we] see the market lose a hundred points or more next week, I would not be worried as these are buying opportunities,” Eagle Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in a report.

Online stock brokerage 2TradeAsia noted the same, saying such pauses would be healthy for the market.

“Large fund managers are on comparison mode among houses’ outlook and portfolio repositioning is expected as a result,” said in a weekly market note.

The brokerage added that investors will be assessing the IRR of the first package of Republic Act No. 10963, otherwise known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act. New tax rates have been implemented since the start of the year, which has allowed for lower personal income taxes alongside higher taxes sugar-sweetened beverages, fuel and oil, among others.

“Merits will be assessed on its rollout plus achievement of the Finance bureau’s estimated numbers,” said.

Meanwhile, Eagle Equities’ Mr. Mangun said that with the market’s current path, the PSEi will manage to breach the 9,000 level in “the next couple of weeks.”

“I think we will continue to see the foreigners increase their positions in the weeks to come,” Mr. Mangun added.

The market’s immediate support is pegged within the 8,770 to 8,800 range, with resistance seen from 8,850 to 8,870.

Two companies will be holding their annual stockholders’ meetings this week, namely Oriental Peninsula Resources Group, Inc. and Ramon S. Ang-led San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc.

On Friday, foreign markets ended mostly up, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping 0.89% or 228.46 points to 25,803.19 as fund managers picking up energy shares following crude’s rise.