Shares flat in listless trade

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PHILIPPINE SHARES managed to crawl back above 7,800 on Friday even as investors had already factored in November inflation that came in as expected by the market.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 10.81 points or 0.13% to close at 7,801.72 — rising 0.81% on the week after two weekly drops — while the broader all-share index ended up 5.33 points or 0.11% to reach 4,645.96.

“The market just treaded water today on the lack of fresh leads. The latest inflation print was largely expected and therefore discounted by the market,” PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said in a mobile phone message, referring to November’s 1.3% headline inflation that was just slightly above the 1.2% median in BusinessWorld‘s survey of economists and fell below the midpoint of the central bank’s own 0.9-1.7% estimate for the month.

“For now, we are looking at the market consolidating with immediate support at 7,700. We are keeping a close eye on developments in the blue chips affected by the President (Rodrigo R. Duterte)’s threat to take legal action for economic sabotage.”

Wins against the government in an international arbitration tribunal in Singapore had caused Mr. Duterte to rail against what he said were onerous provisions of state contracts with Metro Manila’s water service concessionaires.

His tirades against Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. have weighed on the share prices of their principals. Friday saw shares of Manila Water drop 3.55% to P16.30 apiece and those of its mother unit, Ayala Corp., slip 0.24% to P828 each. Moreover, shares of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. dropped 3.68% to P3.66 apiece while those of DMCI Holdings, Inc. edged 1.31% lower at P6.05 each. Metro Pacific and DMCI hold 52.8% and 25.24% interest, respectively, in Maynilad and Japanese firm Marubeni Corp. has a 20% stake in the utility, while the balance is held by other shareholders.

For Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan, investors “remained on the sidelines with impeachment gaining momentum” against US President Donald Trump while Washington and Beijing worked on an interim trade deal before a new round of tariffs take effect on Dec. 15. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday, Washington time, that the House Judiciary Committee will proceed with articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump for allegedly abusing his power for his own political benefit, at the expense of US’ national security.

On Wall Street, Dow Jones Industrial climbed 28.01 points or 0.10% to 27,677.79, the S&P 500 index went up 4.67 points or 0.15% to 3,117.43, while the Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 4.03 points or 0.05% to 8,570.70.

Many major Asian bourses were generally up, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix adding 0.23% and 0.11%, respectively, while the Shanghai SE Composite, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, South Korea’s Kospi and Singapore’s Straits Times Index STI gained 0.43%, 1.07%,1.02% and 0.65%, respectively.

Four of the six sectoral indices back home lost: mining & oil by 65.06 points or 0.85% to end 7,517.51, financials by 14.87 points or 0.78% to 1,874.61, industrials by 73.92 points or 0.76% to 9,555.43 and services by 3.65 points or 0.24% to 1,499.35.

Two gained: property by 31.95 points or 0.78% to 4,099.88 and holding firms by 35.59 points or 0.46% to 7,750.82.

Stocks that declined narrowly edged out those that gained 85 to 81, while 59 others ended Friday flat.

Some 468.035 million shares worth P5.714 billion switched hands on Friday, compared to Thursday’s 514.812 million issues worth P6.511 billion.

Investors abroad turned bearish, ending two days of net buying with Friday’s P718.663 million net selling. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang