THE MAIN INDEX went down on Tuesday as investors stayed cautious following an earthquake that jolted parts of Luzon on Monday afternoon.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) slipped 0.17% or 13.50 points to close at 7,818.93 yesterday, ending relatively flat after tracking a negative trend for most of the session. The broader all-shares index meanwhile added 0.09% or 4.36 points to close at 4,839.04.

“Investors waited for more information regarding the damage caused by [Monday]’s earthquake and by one which came [Tuesday] afternoon,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake was felt in parts of Luzon on Monday, with the worst damage seen in Pampanga as 11 people died and 30 more were reported to be trapped.

The local government of Pampanga is now under a state of calamity due to the damages it sustained.

Another earthquake was felt on Tuesday afternoon, this time in Samar at magnitude 6.2.

“Index could continue to move sideways in the coming days on a clear lack of immediate catalysts. External issues to look out for would be movement of US markets, along with the recent upward movements of oil,” Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez said in an e-mail.

Overseas, Wall Street indices also ended flat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average went down 0.18% or 48.49 points to 26,511.05. The S&P 500 index added 0.1% or 2.94 points to 2,907.97, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.22% or 17.20 points to 8,015.27.

Meanwhile, most other Southeast Asian markets traded flat-to-lower on Tuesday as concerns over China slowing its pace of policy easing kept early trading subdued.

Back home, property was the lone sector that managed to end in positive territory, rising 0.85% or 35.34 points to end at 4,190.69.

The rest declined, led by services which shed 0.84% or 13.64 points to 1,604.39. Holding firms dropped 0.48% or 36.62 points to 7,496.93; industrials slumped 0.36% or 42.73 points to 11,530.04; mining and oil fell 0.31% or 24.34 points to 7,640.93; and financials inched down by less than a percent or 0.28 point to 1,733.38.

Some 569.37 million issues valued at P6.60 billion switched hands, slightly lower than Monday’s turnover of P6.68 billion.

Decliners swamped advancers, 120 to 72, while 47 names were unchanged.

Net foreign inflows persisted at P494.66 million, albeit lower than the previous session’s P1.25 billion.

Nine of the 20 most actively traded stocks ended with gains, including Wilcon Depot, Inc. (up 4.55% to P17), SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (up 1.78% to P39.95), Megawide Construction Corp. (up 1.15% to P22), and Megaworld Corp. (up 1.10% to P5.50).

The same list showed 10 losers, including Globe Telecom, Inc. (down 2.56% to P1,830), and Alliance Global Group, Inc. (down 2.93%). — Arra B. Francia with Reuters