REUTERS

STOCKS started the week in the red as concerns over the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation affected investor sentiment on top of the absence of fresh catalysts.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) declined by 32.42 points or 0.47% to close at 6,763.92 on Monday, while the broader all shares index lost 8.97 points or 0.21% to end at 4,099.62.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message that the index declined “as coronavirus worries took over investor sentiment.”

“The market fell today on lackluster trading as investors await fresh catalysts,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Junior Equity Analyst Lance U. Soledad said in a separate Viber message on Monday.

Meanwhile, AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun attributed the PSEi’s decline to lower trading volume.

“The PSEi ended slightly lower on low trading volumes as investors try to get a feel of the sentiment which is typical for the first trading day of the week,” Mr. Mangun said via e-mail. “This tells us that investors are beginning to turn cautious again, similar to what we are seeing in stock markets abroad.”

Value turnover decreased to P4.19 billion with 1.86 billion shares traded on Monday, from the P5.92 billion with 1.54 billion issues that switched hands on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Health department reported 6,539 new coronavirus cases on Monday, which brought the country’s total number of infections to 1,276,004.

Majority of sectoral indices closed in the red on Monday except for mining and oil, which went up by 48.68 points or 0.51% to 9,505.19, and industrials, which gained 7.05 points or 0.07% to finish at 9,098.72.

Meanwhile, property went down by 23.09 points or 0.68% to 3,328.92; financials declined by 8.80 points or 0.6% to 1,445.05; holding firms shed 34.74 points or 0.5% to 6,819.69; and services inched down by 1.79 points or 0.11% to 1,525.79.

Advancers narrowly beat decliners, 102 against 100, while 60 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers with P96.13 million in net outflows logged on Monday versus the P1.07 billion in net purchases recorded on Friday.

Philstocks Financial’s Mr. Tantiangco said a rise in the number COVID-19 cases will cause the market to decline further.

He added that investors will take cues from the country’s April Labor Force Survey to be released on Tuesday, June 8.

“Bad figures are anticipated given that April was the time the National Capital Region Plus was placed under relatively stringent quarantine measures,” Mr. Tantiangco said, referring to Metro Manila and its nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

AB Capital Securities’ Mr. Soledad expects the index to trade sideways, placing immediate support at 6,700 and resistance at 6,840.

“The PSEi may still continue lower and test a stronger support level as investors take profits,” AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun added. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte