PHILIPPINE STOCKS dropped on Monday, with the benchmark index settling below 7,000 on profit-taking as investors await the release of key economic data at home and in the United States.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down by 90.77 points or 1.29% to close at 6,936.61 on Monday, while the broader all shares index dropped by 30.78 points or 0.83% to end at 3,674.68.

“Philippine stocks were sold ahead of the January inflation print tomorrow, and investors kept cash with many awaiting the latest economic updates globally,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message on Monday.

A BusinessWorld poll of 15 economists conducted last week yielded a median estimate of 7.6% for January headline inflation, close to the lower end of the 7.5% to 8.3% forecast given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

If realized, this will be slower than the 14-year high of 8.1% in December 2022 but faster than the 3% print seen in January 2022 and the central bank’s 2-4% target.

Aside from the inflation report, employment and foreign direct investments data will also be released this week, he said.

Investors are waiting for US data on trade, mortgage and consumer sentiment.

“The local stock market gauge corrected lower for the second day in three days, considered healthy profit taking, after the dollar-peso exchange rate corrected…,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

On Monday, the peso closed at P54.39 versus the greenback, declining by 71 centavos from Friday’s P53.68 finish, data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines showed.

Mr. Ricafort said the market also priced in the government’s offer of retail Treasury bonds that starts on Tuesday, as it “could siphon off some of the excess liquidity from the financial markets and from other alternative investments.”

All sectoral indices closed lower on Monday. Services went down by 23.58 points or 1.33% to 1,747.51; financials lost 22.49 points or 1.21% to end at 1,827.91; property retreated by 36.88 points or 1.2% to 3,020.59; holding firms declined by 70.39 points or 1.03% to 6,703.81; industrial dropped by 78.98 points or 0.78% to 9,932.95; and mining and oil slid by 36.50 points or 0.33% to 10,992.54.

Value turnover dropped to P9.95 billion on Monday with 1.24 billion shares changing hands from the P20.12 billion with 1.89 billion issues traded on Friday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 103 versus 79, while 51 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling stood at P1.45 billion on Monday, a reversal from the P351.51 million in net buying seen the previous trading day.

Mr. Ricafort placed the PSEi’s immediate major support at 6,650-6,750 and immediate resistance at 7,000-7,100, while Mr. Limlingan put immediate support at 6,800 and resistance at 7,050. — J.I.D. Tabile