LOCAL SHARES are expected to correct today as February ends, with the month seeing the market underperforming amid local and global developments.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) declined by 58.72 points or 0.86% to close at 6,755.95 on Wednesday, while the broader all shares index fell 41.56 points or 1% to end at 4,100.16.

Financial markets were closed on Thursday in commemoration of the EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary.

“[For Friday], slight correction, technical for the usual month end window dress,” First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message on Wednesday.

The PSEi has struggled to stay above the 7,000 mark this month, hitting a low of 6,755.95 on Feb. 24, as investors were cautious amid uncertainties.

“For [February], lots of volatility and active play on third liners with the PSEi on a downward bias. Trading volume largely [moved] on retail client activity touching a high of P12 billion at one point,” Ms. Ulang said.

“Slow moving vaccination implementation, inflation upticks and rising interest rates are key markets concerns as the economy will likely struggle to get out of the deeper hole of -9.5% GDP (gross domestic product) contraction last year,” she added.

AB Capital Securities, Inc. Junior Equity Analyst Lance U. Soledad said investors remained cautious this month as the Philippine government was unclear on when vaccinations for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) would start.

“We believe investors are not as bullish now given the delay in vaccine rollout, which led to the decision to not put the whole country under the more relaxed modified general community quarantine,” Mr. Soledad said via Viber.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte rejected the suggestion of the government’s COVID-19 task force to put the country under eased quarantine restrictions, saying the country must first begin its inoculation program.

“Month on month, the Philippine market had underperformed due to the net foreign selling this month,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

He added that rising COVID-19 cases in the country also affected market sentiment.

COL Financial Group, Inc. Chief Technical Analyst Juanis G. Barredo meanwhile said inflation concerns and companies’ earnings results caused stocks to decline this month.

“I think several things [affected the market’s performance]: rise in yields and inflation threat, peso weakness, and some weaker than expected earnings,” Mr. Barredo said via Viber.

AB Capital Securities’ Mr. Soledad said the index may move within its current range amid a lack of positive catalysts.

“For now, we expect the index to trade from 6,700 to 7,000 until at least we see a more feasible vaccine distribution timeline from the government,” he said. — K. C. G. Valmonte