The trading floor at the Philippine Stock Exchange headquarters in Taguig City. — PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

THE MAIN INDEX fell to the 6,000 level on Monday due to weak trading as investors remained on the sidelines amid the continuing conflict in the Middle East.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down by 54.46 points or 0.88% to close at 6,088.44 on Monday, while the broader all shares index dropped by 26.36 points or 0.79% to end at 3,303.06.

“The PSEi ended lower for the fourth consecutive trading day as the escalating Israel-Hamas war, with both Iran and the United States now being dragged into the picture, has continued to keep investors on the sidelines,” Unicapital Securities, Inc. Senior Equity Research Analyst Carlos Angelo O. Temporal said in a Viber message.

“The ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel has introduced geopolitical uncertainties, leading to cautious trading among investors. These tensions have also contributed to instability in oil prices, as the region plays a significant role in global energy markets,” Seedbox Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Jayniel Carl S. Manuel likewise said in an e-mail.

Israel bombarded Gaza with more air strikes on Monday ahead of an anticipated ground operation into the besieged Palestinian enclave as the United Nations warned that civilians were running out of places to seek shelter, Reuters reported.

In signs that the conflict was spreading, Israeli aircraft also struck southern Lebanon overnight and Israeli troops clashed with Palestinians in occupied West Bank, residents said.

Health authorities in Gaza said at least 4,600 people have died in Israel’s two-week bombardment after an assault on Oct. 7 by Hamas militants on southern Israeli communities in which 1,400 people were killed and 212 taken as hostages.

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has now placed Lebanon under crisis warning Alert Level 3 for the voluntary repatriation of Filipinos there.

The DFA earlier placed Gaza under Alert Level 4, making the evacuation of Filipinos in the area mandatory.

Market sentiment was also affected by bets of further tightening by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the US Federal Reserve due to inflation risks posed by the war in the Middle East, Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Analyst Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message.

All sectoral indices dropped on Monday. Financials fell by 30.33 points or 1.73% to 1,718.63; mining and oil declined by 146.74 points or 1.44% to 10,028.37; industrials went down by 82.41 points or 0.94% to 8,664.20; holding firms dropped by 41.54 points or 0.7% to 5,828.77; services sank by 9.70 points or 0.64% to 1,497.03; and property decreased by 7.86 points or 0.3% to 2,594.51.

Value turnover went down to P3.30 billion on Monday with 551.51 million shares changing hands from the P4.01 billion with 627.07 million issues seen on Friday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 123 versus 50, while 55 shares closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling climbed to P777.62 million on Monday from P704.73 million on Friday. — SJT with Reuters