By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE main index ended lower at the close of the week as investors decided to hold off in anticipation of the signing of the trade pact between United States and China next week.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) tumbled 20.87 points or 0.27% to end at 7,776.77 on Friday, while the broader all shares index dipped 7.66 points or 0.17% to 4,605.17.

“Philippine shares traded weaker as some key events are keeping investors on the sidelines,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message Friday.

He said investors are waiting for the signing of the first phase of the US-China trade deal on Jan. 15, now that China has confirmed the attendance of Vice Premier Liu He, Central Bank Governor Yi Gang and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan at the signing ceremony in Washington D.C.

Investors are also keeping a close watch on the relationship of US and Iran, now that US has agreed to take part in the investigation of the Ukrainian airplane that crashed Tehran, killing all 176 passengers.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Piper Chaucer E. Tan agreed that the global events have led to the market’s decline on Friday. But he noted the lack of clarity over the fate of water concessionaires Manila Water Co., Inc. (MWC) and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. also affected the market’s weak performance.

“The market has been battered by these uncertainties coming from the geopolitical tensions abroad and the uncertainties coming from the water concessionaires which can have a negative sentiment on the business confidence,” he said in a text message.

The share price of listed investors of the water concessionaires kept slipping on Friday. Shares in MWC lost 2.30% to close at P10.20 each, while shares in Maynilad investor Metro Pacific Investments Corp. dipped 1.58% to end at P3.74 apiece.

Five out of six sectoral indices ended in red territory. Mining and oil slumped 142.41 points or 1.73% to 8,107.64; industrial gave up 54.07 points or 0.57% to 9,364.48; holding firms shaved 31.13 points or 0.41% to 7,635.45; property erased 27.36 points or 0.66% to 4,112.34; and services fell 5.11 points or 0.33% to 1,555.66.

Financials was the sole gainer with an increase of 16.61 points or 0.92% to 1,827.52.

Value turnover on Friday stood at P6.8 billion with 1.11 billion issues changing hands. Foreign investors turned bullish to record a net buying of P465.66 million, putting an end to seven consecutive days of net selling.