THE MAIN INDEX closed at a near three-month low on Monday on profit taking amid the geopolitical conflict in the Middle East.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped by 1.45% or 96.96 points to finish at 6,562.43 on Monday, while the broader all shares index fell by 1.11% or 39.29 points to close at 3,478.11.

This was the PSEi’s worst finish in almost three months or since it closed at 6,503.54 on Jan. 19.

“The local bourse plunged by 96.96 points (1.45%) to 6,562.43 as worries over tensions in the Middle East heightened, forcing investors to secure some gains to avoid uncertainties,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Analyst Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message.

“Most Asian markets also fell as investors assessed the impact of Iran’s massive drone and missile attacks on Israel over the weekend. Moreover, investors are waiting for how Israel would respond to this,” she added.

Asian shares fell on Monday as risk sentiment took a hit after Iran’s retaliatory attack on Israel stoked fears of a wider regional conflict and kept traders on edge, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.7% after Iran launched explosive drones and missiles at Israel late on Saturday, in retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on its consulate in Syria on April 1.

The threat of open warfare erupting between the arch Middle East foes and dragging in the United States has left the region on tenterhooks. US President Joseph R. Biden warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the US will not take part in a counter-offensive against Iran.

Israel said “the campaign is not over yet.”

“Philippine shares were sold down as investors took precautionary measures following the geopolitical tensions between Iran and Israel. Over the weekend, Tehran allied militant fired hundreds of missiles, most of which were neutralized,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan likewise said in a Viber message.

Almost all sectoral indices closed lower on Monday, with mining and oil being the sole gainer, climbing by 0.32% or 27.08 points to 8,311.23.

Meanwhile, holding firms dropped by 1.98% or 123.34 points to 6,077.81; financials went down by 1.67% or 34.25 points to 2,006.48; industrials retreated by 1.22% or 106.67 points to 8,602.87; property declined by 0.9% or 23.32 points to 2,542.77; and services inched down by 0.67% or 12.61 points to 1,844.62.

Value turnover declined to P5.58 billion on Monday with 612.72 million issues switching hands from the P6.78 billion with 523.94 million shares traded on Friday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 136 against 63, while 44 issues ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling dropped to P304.76 million on Monday from P567.78 million on Friday. — RMDO with Reuters