By Arra B. Francia, Senior Reporter

LOCAL EQUITIES fell on Monday, moving with most Asian indices as investors grew more concerned about the United States’ trade war with China.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down 0.51% or 40.15 points to close at 7,779.07 yesterday. The broader all-shares index likewise slumped 0.33% or 15.94 points to 4,712.87. With Monday’s close, the main index ends the month 2.51% lower.

“Shares ended the day and quarter lower after reports that the White House is considering limits on US investment into China, aggravating the protracted trade dispute between the globe’s two largest economies,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

US officials last week said they are discussing ways to limit US investors’ portfolio flows into China. Bloomberg reported that these limits may include the removing of Chinese firms from US stock exchanges and limiting Americans’ exposure to the Chinese market through government pension fund.

This could further aggravate the ongoing trade war between the two countries, even as Washington and Beijing officials negotiate a potential truce.

The PSEi joined other Asian indices who suffered losses at the start of the week.

Meanwhile, AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said the PSEi continues to weaken by the day.

“The main index continues lower as to be expected. Trading volumes picked up slightly today some investors repositioned themselves, as it was the last day of trading for the third quarter. However, the market is looking weaker and weaker by the day,” Mr. Mangun said in an e-mail.

Four sectoral indices ended with gains, led by the property counter which jumped 0.8% or 32.65 points to 4,101.27. Mining and oil edged up 0.47% or 42.29 points to 9,010.69; industrials went up 0.08% or 8.41 points to 10,565.13; while financials added 0.06% or 1.22 points to 1,804.77.

In contrast, holding firms plunged 1.65% or 128.11 points, while services fell 1.13% or 17.52 points to 1,526.50.

Turnover improved to P12.93 billion after some 1.99 billion issues switched hands, compared to the previous session’s P5.93 billion. However, excluding block sales mostly from Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc. (TIHGI), turnover would have been lower at P5.58 billion.

Foreign net outflows ballooned to P2.17 billion, more than four times the size of Friday’s P464.10 million. Without the block sale of TIHGI, foreign selling would have stood at only P255 million.

TIHGI on Monday crossed the shares it bought back from stockholders during its tender offer last week, in line with the casino operator’s plan to delist from the stock exchange by October.

Decliners beat advancers, 125 to 71, while 52 names were unchanged.