PSE falls on investor caution ahead of Christmas weekend

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THE PHILIPPINE STOCK EXCHANGE index (PSEi) closed below the 7,500 mark on Friday and was lower on the week after climbing for five straight weeks, dragged down by Wall Street’s plunge ahead of a long Christmas weekend.

The Philippine bourse resumes trading on Dec. 26.

All six sectoral indices closed the day in the red, and foreigners remained predominantly bearish for the sixth straight trading day.

PSEi finished Friday 83.7 points or 1.1% lower at 7,479.71 — down 0.59% on the week — while the all-shares index retreated by 42.55 points or 0.93% to 4,501.58.

“With the US experiencing a massive sell-off in December and analysts pointing to a recession that could occur, Philippine shares were sold heavily right before the long holiday period,” Regina Capital Development Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message on Friday, while Jervin S. De Celis, trader at Timson Securities, Inc. noted that persistent signs that Sino-US trade tensions will persist made the market dig in ahead of the long weekend, saying: “Investors may have pocketed some gains as many uncertain events may happen in the next four days.”

Noting that US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell last Dec. 19 had taken on a “more hawkish-than-expected tone on the outlook on interest rates”, RCBC Securities, Inc. Analyst John Paolo D. Ayson noted in a Stock Market Weekend Recap that “[f]or the week, investors focused on the US Fed policy meeting last December 19.”

“They positioned ahead in anticipation that the Fed would issue a more dovish tone after the meeting, but were instead disappointed by (Mr.) Powell’s statement and consequently sold the market the next couple of days.”

Reuters on Friday reported that fears of a partial US government shutdown due to a budget deadlock pushed the Nasdaq Composite Index near bear market territory on Thursday as it closed 1.63% lower at 6,528.41, the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.99% to 22,859.6 and the S&P 500 down 1.58% to 2,467.42.

Asia, however, was a mixed bunch, with the Nikkei Stock Average 225 and the Shanghai Composite Index joining PSEi down 1.11% and 0.79%, respectively, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, South Korea’s KOSPI Index, the Jakarta Composite and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI climbed 0.51%, 0.07%, 0.26% and 1.31%, respectively.

Locally, all sectoral indices lost: property by 71.24 points or 1.93% at 3,620.82, mining & oil by 116.67 points or 1.44% at 7,943.55, financials by 23.32 points or 1.31% at 1,756.28, holding firms by 53.27 points or 0.71% at 7,368.92, services by 9.26 points or 0.63% at 1,450.55 and industrials by 51.15 points or 0.46 at 11,010.54.

Stocks that declined were double those that gained 123 to 59, while 47 others ended flat.

Friday saw 724.217 million shares worth P7.095 billion change hands, compared to Thursday’s 875.14 million shares worth P5.881 billion.

Only four of Friday’s 20 most active stocks closed with gains, namely: JG Summit Holdings, Inc. that increased by 3.7% to P56.10 apiece; Aboitiz Power Corp. which climbed by 1.89% to P35; International Container Terminal Services, Inc. which rose by 0.98% to P103 and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. which added 0.43% to P4.62 each.

Manila Electric Co. and Megaworld Corp. closed flat at P390 and P4.80 apiece, respectively.

The rest that lost were led by Semirara Mining and Power Corp. which dropped 4.26% to P22.50 apiece; Bank of the Philippine Islands which fell by 3.36% to P90.70; SM Prime Holdings, Inc. which retreated by 2.51% to P35 and SM Investments Corp. which went down by 2.15% to P910 each.

Net foreign selling persisted, though two percent lower at P480.628 million from Thursday’s P490.561 million. — Janina C. Lim