Main index ekes out gain on last-minute buying

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By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

STOCKS eked out gains on Tuesday after posting losses for most of the session, as foreign investors continued to flee the market without any signs of new catalysts to bring them back.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) added 0.12% or 8.56 points to 7,059.38 yesterday, snapping a three-day losing streak amid relatively thin trading. In contrast, the broader all-shares index went down 0.27% or 12.15 points to 4,335.69.

“The index traded weakly the entire day, weighed down once again by net foreign selling… The PSEi was saved by a round of MOC (market on close) buying however, which caused it to close a bit higher,” Papa Securities Corp. trader Gabriel Jose F. Perez said in an e-mail.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Senior Equity Analyst Rens V. Cruz II noted the same, blaming foreign selling for the main index’s performance.

“Foreign outflow continues to be a drag..Both the absence of positive catalyst, and the combination of disappointing economic numbers drove investors to reduce exposure to the market, and prevents re-entry,” Mr. Cruz said in a mobile message.

While net outflows slowed to P158.01 million compared to Monday’s figure of P527.90 million, yesterday showed the 29th straight session that foreign investors logged a net selling position.

Analysts attributed this to foreign investors’ preference for more developed countries versus emerging markets, as the US economy showed its continued strength alongside rising yields on 10-year US treasury notes.

“Domestic funds with increased risk-appetite due to cheaper valuation of 2nd to 3rd tier stocks were not enough to attract volume,” Mr. Cruz added.

Four sectoral indices moved to negative territory, led by mining and oil which lost 1.39% or 122.11 points to 8,635.08. Services dropped 0.67% or 10.20 points to 1,497.14, financials shed 0.46% or 7.30 points to 1,566.15, while holding firms slipped 0.14% or 10.13 points to 6,906.09.

Meanwhile, property jumped 1.18% or 41.16 points to 3,519.61, followed by industrials which gained 0.92% or 95.36 points to 10,427.26.

Turnover was flat at P4 billion after some 953.28 million issues switched hands.

Decliners prevailed for the day at 103 names, versus 75 advancers and the 53 that ended unchanged.

International markets ended mixed overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 0.15% or 39.73 points to 26,486.78. The Nasdaq Composite index slumped 0.67% or 52.50 points, while the S&P 500 index also dipped 0.04% or 1.14 points to 2,884.43.

Most Asian markets also closed in negative territory due to fears on the US-China trade war, with China stocks leading the decline as investors shrugged off the central bank’s efforts to inject more money into their economy.

Papa Securities’ Mr. Perez placed the PSE index’s initial support at 6,923, or its intraday low so far this year.