LOCAL SHARES took a nosedive on Wednesday as investors went on a selling spree ahead of the announcement of third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data on Thursday.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gave up 190.80 points or 2.32% to close at 8,025.88, as the broader all-shares index lost 83.01 points or 1.69% to 4,804.36.

“[T]he main index was the worst performer in Asia, by far, wiping out all of yesterday’s advances and even taking back some of Monday’s gains,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail Wednesday.

“We have just witnessed the massive selling pressure that always came as the PSEi got above 8,000. Perhaps investors are anticipating lower than expected GDP numbers and nobody wants to be left holding the bag,” he added.

The government is set to release third-quarter economic growth data on Thursday, which economists are expecting to reflect a recovery due to the increased household consumption and state spending during the period, based on a poll by BusinessWorld last week.

The poll of 13 economists on the third-quarter GDP showed a median estimate of 6%, improving from second quarter’s 5.5% and first quarter’s 5.6%.

But investors seem worried about the announcement. Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Jervin S. de Celis said the selling of shares in blue-chip stocks yesterday primarily caused the downfall of the PSEi.

“The PSEi succumbed to a profit taking today as heavy selling of shares in index heavyweights such as ALI, SM, SMPH, AC (Ayala Land, Inc.; SM Investments Corp.; SM Prime Holdings, Inc.; and Ayala Corp.) dragged the index. Investors may have taken some profits a day ahead of the GDP and MSCI index announcement,” he said in a text message on Wednesday.

Shares in ALI, SM, SMPH and AC declined by 4.08%, 3.12%, 4.43% and 1.71% yesterday, respectively.

Sectoral indices ended in the red. Property fell 154.98 points or 3.62% to 4,119.20; holding firms dropped 190.45 points or 2.34% to 7,922.14; financials shed 28.75 points or 1.46% to 1,935.76; industrials declined 120.56 points or 1.13% to 10,503.14; services decreased 7.84 points or 0.5% to 1,547.16; and mining and oil slid 27.63 points or 0.3% to 9,134.71.

Value turnover dropped to P5.89 billion from Tuesday’s P9.55 billion, with 595.80 million issues changing hands.

More stocks declined than advanced yesterday, 109 against 74, while 49 names were unchanged.

Foreign investors turned bearish after six straight days of optimism, as the local bourse saw a net selling of P975.03 million on Wednesday, a reversal of the P1.22 billion in net purchases seen the previous day.

“If the 8,000 key level does not hold in the next few days, all bets are off and the rally is over,” Mr. Mangun of AAA Southeast Equities said. — Denise A. Valdez