By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX slumped on Monday on rising investor worries across the globe over the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 182.34 points or 2.47% to end at 7,187.44 on Monday. The broader all shares index similarly gave up 81.34 points or 1.87% to 4,265.42.

“The strong gap down in the index was likely fuelled by the cautious investor sentiment that was similarly observed from the markets overseas,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Equity Analyst Paola Beatrice C. Lopez said in an e-mail.

Wall Street closed last week’s session in red territory: the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indices all shed 0.78%, 1.05% and 1.79% on Friday.

In Asia, most markets also closed lower on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix indices lost 0.39% and 0.03%, respectively. China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai SE Composite indices also dropped 0.40% and 0.28%, respectively. Korea’s Kospi index plummeted 3.87%; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gave up 1.79%; and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Gross index shed 1.79%.

In the region, Taiwan’s Stock Exchange Weighted index fell 1.30%; Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Stock index dropped 3.19%; and Laos’ Securities Exchange Composite index declined 2.27%.

“Investors are likely more cautious as the COVID-19 cases continue to pile up across the globe,” Ms. Lopez said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has flagged a “relatively big impact on the economy and society” from the COVID-19 outbreak, and said the situation is “still severe and complex” at present, Reuters reported over the weekend. Economists cited in the report estimate a drop to 3% in China’s economic growth for the first quarter from 6% in the previous quarter.

The worries spread across Asian markets including the PSE, where all sectoral indices declined on Monday. Holding firms dropped 193 points or 2.67% to end the day at 7,025.98; financials decreased 45.17 points or 2.59% to 1,693.75; property lost 93.86 points or 2.37% to 3,850.89; mining and oil shaved off 154.49 points or 2.18% to 6,932.41; industrials fell 181.50 points or 2.02% to 8,805.58; and services lost 19.06 points or 1.31% to close Monday’s session at 1,425.75.

Value turnover dropped to P4.64 billion with 1.42 billion issues changing hands from Friday’s P5.20 billion worth of 695.75 million issues.

Decliners totaled 147, advancers were at 44, and unchanged names totaled 46.

Foreign outflows grew to P877.66 million from Friday’s net selling worth P627.64 million.

“We’re currently looking at 7,130 as an immediate support,” Ms. Lopez said. — with Reuters