LOCAL STOCKS declined on Thursday following the release of more corporate earnings results and as investors awaited the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) policy decision, which was announced after the market’s close.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped by 91.14 points or 1.28% to close at 6,991.01 on Thursday. The all shares index likewise decreased by 37.85 points or by 0.88% to end at 4,222.96.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said the market went down as more companies announced their earnings and following the release of latest inflation data.

“Philippine shares closed lower ahead of the long weekend as the market absorbed new corporate earnings releases and upon the release of the tamed CPI (consumer price index) data. Others realigned portfolios to match that of the recalibrated PSE index which takes effects on Monday, Feb. 15,” Mr. Limlingan said in a text message.

The market was also waiting for the central bank’s policy statement, Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a text message.

“Investors booked gains out of the market’s prior five-day rally ahead of the long weekend. At the same time, investors are looking towards the upcoming policy decision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). While the expectation is that policy rates would be kept unchanged, investors are seen to look for clues regarding the country’s inflation moving forward,” Mr. Tantiangco said ahead of the decision that came after market hours.

The BSP Monetary Board on Thursday kept the interest rate on the central bank’s overnight reverse repurchase facility unchanged at two percent. The rates on the overnight deposit and lending facilities were likewise kept at 1.5% and 2.5%, respectively.

The central bank said while inflation is likely to remain elevated in the coming months amid supply issues, it is expected to return within target in the coming months.

Most sectoral indices dropped on Thursday save for financials, which went up by 2.69 points or 0.18% to 1,457.08 and mining and oil, which increased by 11.9 points or 0.13% to 9,116.27.

Meanwhile, holding firms decreased by 127.85 points or 1.74% to 7,204.98; property lost 51.08 points or 1.41% to 3,552.84; industrials dropped by 115.71 or 1.26% to close at 9,035.84; and services gave up 6.8 points or 0.45% to 1,499.69.

Value turnover totalled P15.09 billion with 22.92 billion issues switching hands on Thursday, up from the P11.67 billion seen on Wednesday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 131 to 95, while 44 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers, with net outflows recorded at P185.64 million, a reversal of the P122.87 million in net buying recorded the previous day. — K.G. Valmonte