LOCAL EQUITIES mostly headed south as the week ended, extending weakness that marked Thursday as investors further digested news of the country’s slowing economic growth.

The bellwether Philippines Stock Exchange index (PSEi) trimmed 59.77 points or 0.75% to close at 7,854.39 on Friday, while the broader all shares index shed 34.21 points or 0.71% to end at 4,784.11.

“Investors digested the latest releases of GDP (gross domestic product) and the move of the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) to reduce rates,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

“As anticipated by the market, the central bank cut benchmark interest rates anew by 25bps (basis points), as well as inflation forecast for 2019, hours after PSA (the Philippine Statistics Authority) reported the economy cooling down to a four-year low.”

The Philippines reported a 5.5% GDP growth in the second quarter on Thursday, the slowest in four years, taking overall economic expansion last semester to the same pace against the government’s 6-7% target for this year. That was followed hours later by the Monetary Board’s decision to cut the key policy rates by 25 bps for the second time this year after a reduction in May in a bid to prod economic activity.

Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez said the lack of catalysts was also a factor in the slow movement of shares on Friday. “Movement could remain sideways in the near term as the PSEi trades with a lack of clear immediate catalysts,” he said in an e-mail.

Four of the six sectoral indices were losers on Friday, led by property which declined 1.47% or 61.53 points to end at 4,100.02. Services gave up 20.24 points or 1.25% to close at 1,591.59, industrials lost 1.16% or 127.1 points to end 10,804.27, while holding firms dropped 0.59% or 45.72 points to finish 7,630.42.

Finishing in green territory were mining & oil, which increased 0.36% or 29.61 points to 8,152.22 and financials, which climbed 0.22% or 4.13 points to 1,851.60.

Stocks that declined outnumbered those that gained 114 to 84, while 47 others ended the day flat.

Friday saw 2.826 billion shares worth P6.167 billion change hands, compared to Thursday’s 834.292 million worth P6.25 billion.

Investors abroad remained bearish for the fifth straight trading day with P670.933 million in net sales. — Denise A. Valdez