THE MAIN INDEX fell to the 6,100 level on Monday as investors stayed cautious amid the conflict in the Middle East that has affected global oil prices.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) slumped by 67.51 points or 1.07% to close at 6,198.83 on Monday, while the broader all shares index fell by 24.67 points or 0.72% to end at 3,359.90.

“Investors continued to stay on the sidelines as cautious sentiments prevailed today. This apprehension stemmed from the escalating Israel-Hamas conflict, with many market participants expressing concerns about its potential to spread to other Arab nations in turmoil,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Vice-President Jovis L. Vistan said in a Viber message on Monday.

“The ongoing geopolitical unease exerted upward pressure on oil prices over the weekend, with both benchmark crude oil prices surging by nearly 6% on Friday. This substantial one-day increase marked their most significant percentage gains since April,” Mr. Vistan added.

Shares declined as investors continued to monitor developments in the Middle East, Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan likewise said in a Viber message.

Crude oil hovered above $90 a barrel while equities were weak and the safe-haven dollar was firm on Monday as investors nervously watched whether escalating violence in Gaza would cause the conflict to spread beyond Israel and Hamas, Reuters reported.

Brent crude futures reached a new recent high of $91.20 on Monday before easing back slightly to $90.84, following Friday’s 5.7% surge.

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs placed Gaza under crisis warning Alert Level 4 over the weekend, making evacuation mandatory for all Filipinos in the area.

Almost all sectoral indices dropped on Monday. Holding firms declined by 91.12 points or 1.53% to 5,854.26; financials went down by 21.94 points or 1.21% to 1,789.08; industrials decreased by 78.48 points or 0.88% to 8,765.80; property dropped by 12.90 points or 0.48% to 2,625.25; and services lost 7.31 points or 0.47% to end at 1,524.02.

Meanwhile, mining and oil climbed by 31.93 points or 0.29% to 11,037.40.

Value turnover went down to P3.76 billion on Monday with 815.38 million shares changing hands from the P5.32 billion with 1.09 billion issues recorded on Friday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 116 versus 64, while 35 shares closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling stood at P369.15 million on Monday versus the P81.53 million in net buying seen on Friday.

For this week, Mr. Vistan placed the PSEi’s support at 6,160 and resistance at 6,350, while Mercantile Securities Corp. Head Trader Jeff Radley C. See put support between 6,087 and 6,157. — S.J. Talavera with Reuters