THE PHILIPPINE Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) extended its weakness for the second trading day, dipping below the 7,900 mark on Friday even as it broke a two-week fall.

PSEi gave up 74.98 points or 0.94% to close at 7,880.82 on Friday — though it edged up from its 7,873.18 finish on April 5 — while the all-shares index went down by 25.77 points or 0.52% to 4,863.15.

While all six sectoral indices ended the day with losses, investors abroad remained predominantly bullish for the fifth consecutive trading day, although Friday’s P265.283-million net buying was just a fourth of Thursday’s P1.12 billion and was the smallest amount in the past five trading days.

“With the delayed budget approval, lack of leads, and the long holidays awaiting, investors resorted to profit taking to lock in on gains,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message on Friday.

“US stocks even closed along the flatline on Thursday as Wall Street looked ahead to the start of the earnings season. Thursday’s session saw the lowest trading volume since December 24.”

Fiorenzo D. De Jesus, research analyst of RCBC Securities, Inc., said in a Stock Market Weekend Recap report, noted that “[t]he market continued its retreat after failing to break out of the 8,000 level yesterday.”

“News that President’s signing of the 2019 national budget, originally scheduled on April 15, has been indefinitely postponed may have worried investors.”

The delay in enactment of the P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 — which leaves new projects unfunded and prevented the government from spending ahead of the 45-day public works ban before the May 13 mid-term elections and the rains next semester — has prompted Philippine budget planners, as well as the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, economic agencies of the United Nations and S&P Global Ratings to cut their economic growth projections for the Philippines for this year.

In a mobile message yesterday, Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Jervin S. De Celis said that besides the lack of fresh catalysts to keep the market above 8,000, the brief trading activity next week “will likely keep investors on the sidelines as we wait for developments overseas”, particularly global trade concerns and uncertainties surrounding the United Kingdom’s move to exit the European Union.

Reuters reported that growing worries about a global economic slowdown offset upbeat US data to pull Wall Street indices in opposite directions on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipping by 0.05% to end 26,143.05 and the Nasdaq Composite Index going down 0.21% to 7,947.36, while the S&P 500 ended flat at 2,888.32.

Major Asian bourses were largely up on Friday, with Japan’s Nikkei 225, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and South Korea’s KOSPI rising 0.73%, 0.24% and 0.41%, respectively, although the Shanghai SE Composite slipped by 0.04%.

All sectoral indices back home lost, led by mining & oil (by 149.82 points or 1.91% to 7,668.88), services (19.49 points or 1.2% to 1,604.6), holding firms (71.39 points or 0.92% to 7,664.29), property (33.81 points or 0.81% to 4,134.37), financials (12.59 points or 0.72% to 1,733.24) and industrials (79.77 points or 0.67% to 11,757.43).

Stocks that lost were nearly double those that gained 121 to 71, while 45 others ended flat.

Trading thinned to 595.779-million shares worth P7.03 billion from Thursday’s 825.427 issues worth P7.291 billion. — with Janina C. Lim