COURTESY OF PHILIPPINE STOCK EXCHANGE, INC.

Philippine shares joined regional peers and retreated on Friday as investors took profits from a two-day rally after weighing in the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) slipped by 46.41 points or 0.63% to 7,261.34, while the broader all shares index ended lower by 14.81 points or 0.38% to 3,855.30 on the last trading day of the week.

“The index closed lower as investors preferred to take profits off the table after rallying for two consecutive days. Traders may be assessing the COVID-19 situation in the country, as daily new cases remain elevated,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a Viber message.

The Philippines has been breaking its record of new COVID-19 cases this week. It recorded 34,021 new cases on Thursday, making it the biggest number of infections tallied in a day since the pandemic hit the country in March 2020.

“Investors went on profit taking in line with most of the Asian markets as there is possibility of the imposition of increase in restriction level,” said Aniceto K. Pangan, equity trader at Diversified Securities, Inc.

The government announced on Friday that the National Capital Region will remain under Alert Level 3, the second strictest quarantine classification until Jan. 31.

Earlier this week, Alert Level 3 was placed over 28 other areas from Jan. 14 until the end of the month.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said that the negative spillovers from Wall Street’s overnight performance amid worries over US inflation and the Federal Reserve’s possible monetary tightening also weighed on the local bourse.

Federal Reserve policymakers this week signaled they will start raising US interest rates in March to battle inflation that is eroding the value of workers’ recent wage gains and putting the policy setters under a political spotlight, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, Asian stocks faltered on Friday on fears over central banks’ hiking rates. Equities in Kuala Lumpur, Philippines, and Thailand dropped between 0.3% and 1%, while Seoul equities sank 1.5%, Reuters reported.

Mr. Tantiangco noted that trading value was tepid as it slipped to P5.8 billion with 947.07 million issues, from P7.2 billion logged on Thursday with 1.5 million shares that switched hands. Friday’s value turnover was also below last year’s daily average of P7.38 billion.

Sectoral indexes ended in the red except for mining an oil, which inched up 4.97 points or 0.04% to 10,087.09.

On the other hand, financials dropped 15.95 points or 0.95% to 1,662.48; services fell 18.38 points or 0.92% to 1,976.48; property lost 16.97 points or 0.52% to 3,217.1; holding firms declined 28.28 points or 0.39% to 7,063.03; and industrials decreased 21.97 points or 0.21% to 10,380.9.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 97 against 77, while 53 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers recording P63.19 million in net outflow, versus the P659.73 million in foreign net buying recorded the previous trading day.

Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said that Haus Talk, Inc.’s listing on the exchange on Jan. 17 could affect next week’s trade. — Marielle C. Lucenio