Main index declines ahead of ECB, Fed meetings

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PSE bells

By Arra B. Francia, Senior Reporter

THE main index snapped its four-day winning streak as investors waited for catalysts, such as policy moves of central banks abroad.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped 0.38% or 30.64 points to close at 7,929.48 yesterday, while the broader all-shares index likewise slipped 0.26% or 12.86 points to 4,786.45.

“Philippine shares finally fell to negative territory with the broader market notching slight losses as investors looked ahead to ECB (European Central Bank) and the Fed monetary policy moves,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

The US Federal Reserve will hold a meeting from Sept. 17 to 18, with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaling that they may cut interest rates for the second time this year. The central bank also said it is not expecting a recession, but will act appropriately to sustain the country’s economic growth.

Meanwhile, the ECB is also seen to cut rates during its own policy meeting this week.

“The index’s current sideways range could persist in the near-term on a lack of immediate catalysts for the PSEi,” Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez said in an e-mail.

“Bias remains upward because of technicals however, with initial resistance pegged at 8,000.”

Western markets were relatively unchanged on Monday as hopes on the Fed’s moves were offset by losses in tech and health care shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 0.14% or 38.05 points to 26,835.51. The S&P 500 index dipped 0.01% or 0.28 point to 2,978.43, while the Nasdaq Composite index retreated 0.19% or 15.64 points to 8,087.44.

Asian markets were also mixed due to weak Chinese factory data, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 up 0.35% or 73.68 points to 21,392.10. The Hang Seng index added 0.01% or 2.28 points to 26,683.68, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.12% or 3.54 points to 3,021.20.

Sectoral indices were equally split between gainers and losers. Leading those that ended in positive territory was the mining and oil counter, which jumped 2.52% or 230.52 points to 9,353.88. Services climbed 0.72% or 11.67 points to 1,613.67, while financials eked out a gain of 0.05% or 1.06 points to 1,824.69.

In contrast, property fell 1.11% or 45.20 points to 4,028.19; holding firms shed 0.53% or 42.19 points to 7,847.62; and industrials lost 0.32% or 35.17 points to 10,892.96.

Foreign investors turned net buyers after four consecutive days of net sales. Net inflows reached P609.78 million yesterday against net sales of P342.75 million on Monday.

Some 613.73 million issues switched hands valued at P5.22 billion, lower than the previous session’s P7.67-billion turnover.

Decliners narrowly beat advancers, 92 to 91, while 56 names were unchanged.