THE MAIN INDEX fell for the fourth straight day, below the 7,900 line, to mark its lowest point in 12 sessions, as investors kept watch of the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) rebalancing that takes effect on Monday and anticipated another interest rate cut when the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) conducts its sixth policy review for the year next Thursday, Sept. 26.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 40.21 points or 0.51% to close at 7,871.11 — down 1.517% from the week-ago 7,992.32 — while the broader all-shares index similarly gave up 10.61 points or 0.22% to end at 4,772.35.

“The market sold down to align with the latest FTSE rebalancing… In addition, investors were still assessing after the second interest rate cut of 2019 by the Federal Reserve,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

The Federal Open Market Committee announced on Thursday morning, Philippine time, that it was cutting interest rates by 25 basis points — its second interest rate cut since July — as it cited the continuing need to prop up the US economy.

Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Jervin S. De Celis also cited the FTSE rebalancing as the main driver of the stock market on Friday, saying in a text message: “Our index closed in the negative territory today as investors sold positions due to FTSE rebalancing. Volume is also thin during the morning session due to lack of fresh catalyst to push the index above 8,000.”

“Next week’s event such as BSP meeting may keep investors on the sideline as they wait for the anticipated rate cut.”

Four of the six sectoral indices ended with losses: property by 73.77 points or 1.81% to finish 3,985.76, financials by 13.54 points or 0.75% to 1,786.58, industrials by 41.31 points or 0.37% to 10,938.94, as well as mining & oil by 20.01 points or 0.21% to 9,375.03.

The two sub-indices that gained were holding firms (21.76 points or 0.27% to 7,849.1) and services (3.21 points or 0.2% to 1,588.84).

Friday’s list of 20 most active stocks saw only five that gained: JG Summit Holdings, Inc. by 3.86% to P75.30 apiece; International Container Terminal Services, Inc. by 1.4% to P131.40; Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. by 1.28% to P55.60; Aboitiz Power Corp. by 1.14% to P39.95 and BDO Unibank, Inc. by 0.14% to P140.40 each.

Those that lost included Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (down 2.64% to P33.15 apiece), Bank of the Philippine Islands (down 2.25% to P91.10 apiece) and Ayala Land, Inc. (down 2.24% to P47.90 each).

Stocks that declined narrowly edged out those that gained 94 to 91, while 62 others ended flat.

Friday saw 2.693 billion shares worth P10.167 billion switch hands, compared to Thursday’s 453.905 million shares worth P4.117 billion.

Investors abroad remained predominantly bearish for the fourth straight day, with net foreign selling more than doubling to P1.065 billion from Thursday’s P398.839 million, the biggest outflow in that period. — Denise A. Valdez