PHILIPPINE STOCKS declined on Tuesday ahead of the release of March US consumer inflation data and amid geopolitical concerns.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index fell by 8.88 points or 0.13% to close at 6,479.63 on Tuesday, while the broader all shares index dropped by 6.88 points or 0.19% to end at 3,479.86.

“Philippine equities opened the week softly after a five-day hiatus as many will be tuning into a fresh round of economic data, specifically the release of US CPI (consumer price index) on Wednesday. Besides this, investors will also digest the retail sales and University of Michigan reports on Friday,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

“Back home, the unemployment rate was unchanged… [and] the trade balance narrowed. For the rest of the week, investors will be watching OFW (overseas Filipino workers) cash remittances (April 14),” he added.

Philippine financial markets were closed from April 6-10 for nonworking days in observance of Holy Week and the Day of Valor.

The country’s unemployment rate stood at 4.8% in February, steady from the previous month, preliminary results of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) February round of the Labor Force Survey released on Tuesday showed.

Meanwhile, the country’s trade-in-goods deficit stood at a $3.88-billion deficit in February, narrowing from $5.73-billion gap in January, the PSA reported separately.

In the first two months, the trade deficit widened to $9.61 billion from $8.50-billion gap a year ago.

“The market moved sideways as traders await the latest US CPI numbers, which will be released on April 12. Moreover, geopolitical concerns in Taiwan also spooked investors and limited buying activities,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Vice-President Jovis L. Vistan said in a Viber message.

Chinese warplanes and navy ships were still in the waters around Taiwan, the island’s defense ministry said on Tuesday after the end of three days of war games, as Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen criticized Beijing for its “irresponsible” behavior, Reuters reported.

Back home, the majority of sectoral indices declined. Property went down by 32.02 points or 1.16% to 2,711.95; services fell by 16.19 points or 1% to 1,596.47; holding firms decreased by 10.92 points or 0.17% to 6,339.47; and industrials dropped by 13.81 points or 0.14% to 9,277.08.

Meanwhile, financials increased by 23.16 points or 1.3% to 1,804.19 and mining and oil went up by 28.87 points or 0.27% to end at 10,703.02.

Value turnover rose to P5.37 billion on Tuesday with 1.22 billion shares changing hands from the P3.38 billion with 1.08 billion issues traded on April 5.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 106 versus 61, while 63 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign buying increased to P56.12 million on Tuesday from the P43.80 million on April 5. — A.H. Halili with Reuters