By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX recorded its third straight day of decline on Thursday amid the pickup in November inflation and positive developments in the US-China trade negotiations.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell 25.02 points or 0.32% to close at 7,790.91 on Thursday, as the broader all shares index shed 17.18 points or 0.36% to 4,640.63.

“With trade talks ongoing and November inflation coming in a little over expected, local shares slid this trading session,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message yesterday.

Bloomberg reported late Wednesday that US and China are close to finalizing the tariff rollbacks that will be part of their “phase one” trade agreement, citing information from people familiar with the negotiations. It noted the deal may be signed before Dec. 15, when American tariffs are scheduled to increase.

Wall Street took the news with optimism on Wednesday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average index, the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite index all rose 0.53%, 1.24% and 1.56%, respectively.

Inflation data from the Philippine Statistics Authority also affected the local market on Thursday, as the report showed headline inflation last month landed at 1.3% — still within the central bank’s 0.9-1.7% estimate range but also the first time it picked up in the second half of the year.

Despite Mr. Limlingan’s comments attributing the market’s decline to the inflation report, AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said it “had almost no effect on the market as investors ignore fundamentals and focus on the sentiment.”

Mr. Mangun said what drove the market were foreign investors which recorded a net buying of P37.85 million.

Sectoral indices at the PSE were mostly down on Thursday. Services dropped 30.72 points or 2% to end at 1,503; industrials gave up 87.19 points or 0.89% to end at 9,629.35; mining and oil lost 55.71 points or 0.72% to 7,582.57; property decreased 17.07 points or 0.41% to 4,067.93; and financials slipped 1.38 points or 0.07% to end the session at 1,889.48.

Holding firms was the lone increasing sector that climbed, adding 19.07 points or 0.24% to end at 7,715.23.

Value turnover closed at P6.51 billion yesterday, lower than Wednesday’s P7.72 billion, with 514.81 million issues changing hands.

There were more stocks that lost than those that gained, 117 against 68, while 54 names were unchanged.

Net inflows stood at P37.85 million, lower than Wednesday’s P922.23 million.

“We still believe the PSEi can end the week above 7,800,” Mr. Mangun said. — with Bloomberg