LOCAL STOCKS extended their decline on Friday as investors bought shares ahead of the long weekend.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) let go of 37.37 points or 0.63% to close at 5,884.18; while the broader all shares index dropped 9.83 points or 0.27% to end at 3,534.58.

The market has been declining for two consecutive weeks and the lack of a strong catalyst to drive investors in may be the main culprit, Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Piper Chaucer E. Tan said.

“Lack of cohesive economic plan for the people and for the business community is what keeps this market not enticing for the bull to enter,” he said in a message.

Looming worries over the coronavirus pandemic still haunt the local market, pushing the PSEi in red territory in seven out of nine trading days during the past two weeks.

Mr. Tan also said the upcoming “ghost month” festival next week may be a factor that’s pushing investors away. The ghost month is believed by some investors as a period of bad luck.

“Weak trading volume and value will be seen in the upcoming trading days,” he said.

The local bourse is closed on Monday in observance of National Heroes’ Day.

Other Asian markets were mixed on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix indices were down 1.41% and 0.68%, respectively, primarily due to the reported plan of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to step down due to health reasons.

US markets were also mixed on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indices were up 0.57% and 0.17%, respectively, while the Nasdaq Composite index declined 0.34%.

Back home, nearly all sectoral indices ended Friday’s session lower. Property lost 48.36 points or 1.75% to 2,710.60; mining and oil slid 49.79 points or 0.82% to 6,005.07; holding firms cut 48.40 points or 0.78% to 6,099.90; industrials fell 40.78 points or 0.52% to 7,791.26; and financials shed 2.72 points or 0.24% to 1,129.70.

The sole gaining index was services, which increased 18.21 points or 1.24% to 1,482.93 at the close of market.

Some 3.73 billion issues valued at P8.26 billion issues switched hands, against the previous day’s 5.08 billion issues worth P17.46 billion.

Decliners bested advancers, 102 against 87, while 56 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling grew to P1.63 billion on Friday from P1.11 billion the previous day. — Denise A. Valdez