STOCKS dropped further on Monday on last-minute profit taking among investors as fears on the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to weigh on the market.

The benchmark 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped by 38.63 points or 0.56% to close at 6,749.28 yesterday, while the broader all shares index decreased by 20.63 points or 0.50% to finish at 4,043.69.

According to Philstocks Financial Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar, fears on the continued spread of COVID-19 affected the market.

“PSE index ended in the red on last minute profit taking as COVID-19 fears linger in the market,” Ms. Alviar said in a text message.

“While during intraday, it visited the positive territory as investors accumulate on dips, along with the rebound of some Asian markets after the major sell-off last week,” Ms. Alviar added.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus likewise told CNBC on Sunday that the market panic was uncalled for, even after the organization on Friday raised its threat assessment for the virus to its highest level.

So far around 85,000 people in 53 countries have been infected. China, the world’s second-largest economy, is home to the vast majority of cases. About 70 have been diagnosed in the United States, Reuters reported.

Most Southeast Asian stock markets recovered from early losses on Monday as hopes grew major central banks would roll out stimulus measures to help cushion the economic fallout from the coronavirus’ spread.

On Friday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank would “act as appropriate” to support the economy, raising hopes of a rate cut and chances that others would follow suit.

US stock index futures tumbled as trading reopened on Sunday night with investors still unnerved by the coronavirus and taking little solace from weekend comments by US officials that aimed to soothe panic about a pandemic.

S&P 500 e-mini futures were last down about 1%, indicating another bad day for the benchmark index on Monday after it fell more than 11% last week, its worst since the 2008 financial crisis.

Most sectoral indices at the PSE fell yesterday except for property, which rose by 55.64 points or 1.53% to end at 3,688.82.

Meanwhile, industrials declined by 191.54 points or 2.29% to 8,159.94; mining and oil dropped 108.29 points or 1.67% to 6,343.15; financials plummeted 24.5 points or 1.52% to 1,581.49; holding firms gave up 50.58 points or 0.76% to 6,576.50; and services went down 5.52 points or 0.4% to 1,345.86,

Value turnover dropped to P6.52 billion on Monday with 946.27 million shares changing hands from the P11.39 billion traded last Friday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 129 against 69, with 46 names closing unchanged.

Net foreign selling continued but thinned to P1.53 billion on Monday from the P4.08 billion recorded last Friday. — RMDO with Reuters