SHARES declined on Monday due to profit taking as rising coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections in the country soured market sentiment.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) declined by 41.55 points or 0.62% to close at 6,591.67 on Monday, while the broader all shares index went down by 12.76 points or 0.3% to end at 4,110.96.

“With infection rates running high over the weekend, deaths nearing 400, and vaccine rollout slow due to discontinued supply, [the] market will continue to experience restrictions that will continue to hamper economic activity all over the country thus profit taking prevailed today,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message.

“Investors continued cashing in profits at the 6,600 to 6,700 PSEi resistance levels and that’s in the face of uninspiring news in the health front, [with] elevated [infections] and budget controversies,” First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message.

“But foreign investors are buying the sell-down, taking notice of the government’s infrastructure budget ramp-up next year to P1.18 trillion or 5.4% of GDP (gross domestic product) submitted to Congress for legislation,” Ms. Ulang said.

The Health department reported 16,044 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the country’s tally to 1,839,635 with 125,900 active cases. The positivity rate stood at 25.5%.

The country also logged 398 COVID-19 fatalities on Saturday and an additional 215 on Sunday.

Meanwhile, several government agencies have been flagged by the Commission on Audit because of deficiencies, underspending, and lapses in using state funds.

On the other hand, the Budget department on Monday submitted its proposed P5.024 trillion spending plan for 2022 to the House of Representatives.

Majority of sectoral indices declined on Monday except for services, which went up by 8.74 points or 0.53% to finish at 1,644.67, and industrials, which gained 20.19 points or 0.2% to finish at 9,669.21.

Meanwhile, property declined by 76.60 points or 2.45% to 3,043.07; holding firms shed 43.65 points or 0.66% to 6,566.04; mining and oil lost 31.69 points or 0.34% to close at 9,117.97; and financials inched down by 1.43 points or 0.1% to 1,427.89.

Value turnover inched down to P6.29 billion with 1.94 billion issues switching hands on Monday, from the P6.30 billion with 2.04 billion shares traded on Friday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 105 versus 87, with 45 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned buyers anew with 105.79 million in net purchases on Monday from the P175.12 million in net outflows logged on Friday.

Diversified Securities’ Mr. Pangan expects the PSEi to continue trading between the 6,300 to 6,700 range in the coming days. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte