Main index declines anew on Brexit, China data

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LOCAL STOCKS slid slightly on Tuesday as investors awaited the British parliament’s take on a historic vote on the Brexit deal, while China’s trade data brought disappointment.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched down 0.13% or 10.72 points to 8,013.42. The broader all-shares index, meanwhile, went up 0.04% or 2.02 points to 4,788.62.

“Our index ended slightly lower today but still above the 8,000 level as investors turn cautious amidst the Brexit deal which appears to be a crushing defeat for Theresa May,” Jervin S. de Celis, Timson Securities, Inc. trader, said in a mobile message on Tuesday.

However, Mr. De Celis noted that the report on the 2.8% growth in Philippine cash remittances in November “may also have kept our market above that level while foreign investors are assessing the gravity of an apparent failure in the Brexit deal.”

Local shares also declined Tuesday due to the weak Chinese trade data, according to Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan, who said it “sparked fear over a prolonged weakness in global growth.”

“Tech shares led the way lower after a weaker-than-expected China trade data sparked fresh fears of a global economic slowdown,” Mr. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message yesterday.

Mr. Limlingan added that “corporate results are also in the spotlight as fourth-quarter earnings season gets underway.”

Counters were mixed on Tuesday, with gainers beating losers.

Mining and oil climbed 0.88% or 77.72 points to 8,829.93; property rose 0.42% or 16.92 points to 4,011.69; financials advanced 0.36% or 6.55 points to 1,803.61; and services added 0.1% or less than a point to end at 1,544.89.

Meanwhile, industrials fell 0.67% or 78.88 points to 11,653.79, while holding firms slid 0.43% or 34.88 points to 7,976.59.

Advancers trumped losers, 102 to 86, while 63 names were unchanged.

Turnover yesterday stood at P6.52 billion as 3.10 billion shares switched hands, little changed from the prior session’s P6.80 billion worth of shares.

Net foreign buying dropped to P258.98 million yesterday from Monday’s net purchases worth P985.89 million.

On the other hand, most Southeast Asian stock markets recovered on Tuesday with Singapore leading the gains, as China hinted at supportive monetary policies to strengthen its economy.

China will strengthen monitoring of its economic situation and improve its “reserve” of economic policies, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement.

The stimulus from the region’s largest trading partner spurred a positive movement in most of the markets, after they fell on Monday following an unexpected fall in China’s December exports and imports.

Singapore’s benchmark index led gains in the region to rise to an over three-month high.— J.C. Lim with Reuters