PHL stocks end flat ahead of US-China trade talks

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THE Philippine Stock Exchange — PHOTO BY SANTIAGO J. ARNAIZ

THE MAIN INDEX ended flat at the close of trading on Monday amid global fears over the US-China trade war, but still remained above the 8,000 mark.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained a measly 0.72 points or less than a percent at the start of the week to close at 8,053.92 on Monday. The broader all-shares index likewise climbed just 2.76 points or 0.05% to end at 4,856.38.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said the tame activity was influenced by the effect to markets of the reopening of the United States government after a 35-day shutdown and anticipation of earnings reports of big foreign firms this week.

“Philippine investors started the week on a rather neutral note as markets breathed a sigh of relief the US government re-opening, and as the big names abroad gear up for corporate earnings,” Mr. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

The US government ended its partial shutdown on Friday as US President Donald J. Trump approved a three-week bill to fund the government until Feb. 15. This led US markets to rally at the end of last week.

Diversified Securities, Inc. Equities trader Aniceto K. Pangan agreed, saying the ongoing US-China trade war, among other challenges, continued to hound market activity in the Philippines.

“Locally, we continue to maintain high overnight interest rates after an increase of 175 basis points, high inflation rate from the range, awaiting 2019 budget approval while global still on trade war leading to slow growth,” Mr. Pangan said in a text message.

Gabriel Jose F. Perez, sales associate at Papa Securities Corp., noted how the local market was able to rise up to 90 points in the morning for an intraday high of 8,143 but failed to maintain this until the closing bell.

Sectoral indices were divided, with the ones in the green led by services, which rose 30.54 points or 1.93% to 1,611.54. It was followed by financials which increased 16.15 points or 0.88% to 1,840.89; and mining and oil which climbed 63.46 points or 0.75% to 8,519.82.

Ending in the red were the holding firms counter, which shed 53.96 points or 0.68% to 7,873.63; industrials, which was down 45.44 points or 0.38% to 11,733.02; and property which lost 9.02 points or 0.22% to 4,004.18.

Some 1.68 billion shares were traded for a value turnover of P9.13 billion, more than the previous session’s P7.88 billion.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 108 to 102, while 44 names closed unchanged. Foreign investors were net buyers on Monday with P2.27 billion, higher than Friday’s P1.09 billion.

Diversified Securities’ Mr. Pangan said the global issues affected this turnout.

“Market continued its profit-taking by local investors after a strong start with foreign investors at more than P2.2 billion net foreign buying as challenges continued to hound the global market,” he said. — D.A. Valdez