Shares close lower on lack of positive catalysts

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PHILIPPINE shares closed lower on Monday as trading was muted on the lack of positive catalysts.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) trimmed 62.60 points or 1.13% to end at 5,479.35 yesterday. The broader all shares index shed 31.11 points or 0.92% to 3,325.50.

“The market’s performance is a result of slim market participation which is only at almost P4 billion in value turnover,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Piper Chaucer E. Tan said in a text message.

Value turnover yesterday was P3.95 billion with 445.94 million issues switching hands, a quieter performance compared to the last session’s P4.53 billion with 660.43 million issues.

Mr. Tan said investors seem to be on a wait-and-see mode as they observe how the implementation of a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila will turn out. The government started to relax quarantine measures over the weekend amid the sustained coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Investors are on wait-and-see mode towards the end of the week. We think this is due to the backlash of MECQ in places which were previously on ECQ, (appearing like) it can have a second wave (of COVID-19 cases) since social distancing measures are not strictly imposed,” he said.

AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun also noted that Asian equities performed better yesterday, triggered by remarks of US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the US economy may start recovery by the second half of 2020.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix indices climbed 0.48% and 0.38%, respectively, China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 index rose 0.26%; and South Korea’s Kospi index increased 0.51%.

“Local investors were less optimistic compared to their Asian peers. Most blue-chips ended at their lowest prices for the day as bargain hunters were nowhere to be found,” Mr. Mangun said via e-mail.

“It could because investors are expecting an increase in new COVID-19 cases as quarantine measures are eased. We may continue to see it move lower in the coming days as most investors are on the sidelines watching the effects of the (MECQ) that started over the weekend,” he added.

All but one sectoral index closed the trading session in red territory. Financials lost 21.42 points or 1.89% to 1,107.98; holding firms fell 98.77 points or 1.81% to 5,338.32; industrials erased 115.47 points or 1.53% to 7,391.20; services dropped 7.22 points or 0.54% to 1,306.82; and mining and oil slid 7.01 points or 0.15% to close Monday’s session at 4,498.47.

The only sectoral index that closed in the green was property, which improved 7.74 points or 0.27% to 2,823.39.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 141 against 56, while 32 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling was trimmed to P342.69 million from the previous session’s P654.56 million. — Denise A. Valdez