Shares drop on profit-taking amid lack of leads

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By Arra B. Francia, Senior Reporter

STOCKS DROPPED on Thursday as investors chose to take profit amid the lack of catalysts, even as most markets abroad rallied on easing trade tensions between the United States and China.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 0.29% or 23.47 points to close at 7,944.43, failing to hold the previous session’s gains. The broader all shares index likewise slipped 0.1% or 5.03 points to 4,799.79.

“Profit taking amid lack of local catalysts sent the PSEi lower by 23.47 points,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. said in a market note.

The local market failed to mirror Wall Street’s movement on Wednesday as indices were boosted by US President Donald J. Trump’s announcement that he will delay the tariff increases on China.

“The index once again failed to share positive sentiment from US markets last night, as well as the latest Trade War development earlier this morning when Trump said he would delay the tariff increase on the Chinese goods,” Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez said in an e-mail on Thursday.

Mr. Trump said Wednesday that he will delay the next planned tariff increases on Chinese goods by two weeks as “a gesture of good will.” This involves the 25% tariff hike on $250-billion worth of Chinese goods originally scheduled for Oct. 1, which will now be implemented on Oct. 15.

Meanwhile, China also said it will exempt some US goods from the tariff hikes it plans to impose starting Sept. 17.

With this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 0.85% or 227.61 points to close at 27,137.04. The S&P 500 index jumped 0.72% or 21.54 points to 3,000.93, while the Nasdaq Composite surged 1.06% or 85.53 points to 8,169.68.

Asian indices also ended mostly higher on the back of easing trade war tensions. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.75% or 161.85 points to 21,759.61. The Shanghai Composite firmed up 0.75% or 22.42 points to 3,031.24, while the Hang Seng index was down 0.21% or 57.57 points to 27,101.49.

Back home, four sectoral indices finished in negative territory, led by property which fell 0.8% or 32.76 points to 4,028.71. Services lost 0.69% or 11.21 points to 1,605.83; industrials shed 0.4% or 44.11 points 10,921.72; while financials went down 0.19% or 3.59 points to 1,821.34.

In contrast, mining and oil rose 0.17% or 16.08 points to 9,489.72 and holding firms added 0.14% or 11.08 points to 7,901.23.

Turnover stood at P6.73 billion after some 702 million issues switched hands, slightly lower than Wednesday’s P6.66 billion.

Decliners trumped advancers, 96 to 93, while 50 names were unchanged.

Foreign investors turned net sellers at P131.26 million, against the previous session’s net purchases worth P143.15 million.