PSEi drops ahead of GDP data, BSP policy review

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THE MAIN INDEX opened the week on a negative note as investors were on a wait-and-see mode ahead of the release of first-quarter economic growth data.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi)went down 0.17% or 12.91 points to close at 7,533.28 Monday, May 7, immediately erasing its last-minute gain last Friday.

The broader all-shares index also edged down by 0.08% or 3.69 points to 4,601.61.

“The market slid by 12 points today on low volume trading… Investors are obviously on a cautious mode now especially with the absence of any positive catalysts in the market,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader and Marketing Head Mark Levinson Koa said in a text message on Monday.

IB Gimenez Securities, Inc. Research Head Joylin F. Telagen noted that the market is waiting for the release of first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth figures, as well as the results of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) meeting later this week.

“I don’t expect much movement until the important data are released on Thursday, the first- quarter GDP and BSP meeting. This will determine market direction over the next few weeks,” Ms. Telagen said via text.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will be releasing first- quarter GDP data on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a BusinessWorld poll of 11 analysts last week showed nine expecting the BSP to hike interest rates at its policy review, after inflation picked up to a five-year high in April.

The central bank last raised key policy rates in September 2014, when inflation was trending above the 3-5% target that year. Benchmark rates currently range from 2.5-3.5% following some procedural adjustments introduced in June 2016.

“However, the month of May is also tagged as ‘sell on May and go away.’ So for me, personally, I’m just on watch mode and will enter the market when the right time comes,” Ms. Telagen added.

Four sectoral indices ended in the red on Monday, with the mining and oil sector plunging 2.88% or 297.01 points to 10,014.38, weighed down by a 5.15% drop in Semirara Mining and Power Corp. to P27.65 each on Monday after it announced the shutdown of one of its Calaca plants for another 90 days.

Financials declined 0.47% or 9.12 points to 1,897.75; property went down 0.30% or 10.59 points to 3,509.80; while holding firms shed 0.19% or 14.92 points to 7,577.23.

On the other hand, industrials added 0.47% or 51.48 points to 10,999.48, while services increased 0.35% or 5.30 points to 1,516.45.

Some 1.1 billion issues switched hands, resulting in a value turnover of P5.9 billion, down from Friday’s turnover of P6.25 billion.

Decliners narrowly outpaced advancers, 92 to 89, while 46 names were unchanged.

Foreign investors turned sellers, amounting to net sales of P462.74 million against net inflows of P532.12 million in the previous session. — Arra B. Francia