LOCAL SHARES crashed to historic lows yesterday as the market recorded heavy sell-offs as it reopened after a two-day shutdown.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped 711.95 points or 13.34% to 4,623.42 yesterday. The broader all shares index likewise gave up 390.21 points or 11.92% to 2,881.58.

The local bourse is now implementing shortened trading hours of 9:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. while Luzon is under quarantine until April 13.

The circuit breaker was again triggered yesterday when the PSEi fell 12.4% at the opening bell. The circuit breaker is a 15-minute trading break when the index drops at least 10%, meant to allow investors to rethink their positions.

The main index dropped to as low as 4,039.15 intraday, an “unprecedented” 24.29% drop, and peaked at 4,751.72 before settling at 4,623.42 at the close.

“As expected, the market promptly triggered the circuit breaker almost immediately on open, as two days’ worth of selling pressure was unleashed,” PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said in a text message.

Value turnover jumped to P9.42 billion with 1.25 billion issues switching hands, compared to Monday’s P6.44 billion with 618.19 million issues.

Foreign outflows ballooned to a net selling of P2.40 billion from P741.72 million in net outflows on Monday.

“Shares plummeted as investors worried about the economic damage from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said.

Wall Street plummeted on Wednesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices losing 6.30%, 5.18% and 4.70%. Asian markets were mostly in red territory as well.

“With a number of markets still reeling from the pandemic, we may continue to see volatility as uncertainties abound with recession now being entertained globally,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message.

Sectoral indices back home also declined by double digits yesterday. Mining and oil wiped out 802.60 points or 17.74% to 3,720.87; financials dropped 198.24 points or 15.37% to 1,090.95; industrials shaved off 919.47 points or 13.33% to 5,975.43; holding firms cut 669.38 points or 13.11% to 4,435.78; property erased 344.45 points or 12.51% to 2,408.60; and services lost 134.79 points or 11.60% to 1,026.68.

Decliners beat advancers by a landslide, 211 against eight, while 21 names ended unchanged.

“As the local market continues to correct on these uncertainties, investors should continue to be cautious and may continue to accumulate at major support levels on fundamentally sound companies with low valuations especially on market weakness,” Mr. Pangan said. — Denise A. Valdez