Stocks decline in subdued trade ahead of holiday

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PSE BGC bell

By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

LOCAL EQUITIES dropped on the first trading day of the week, as most investors paused ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell 0.91% or 74.68 points to close at 8,069.48 on Monday. The broader all-shares index likewise retreated 0.34% or 16.97 points to 4,892.54.

“Philippine shares traded quietly in the red with the Chinese New Year holiday in full swing. The Chinese market is closed for CNY holiday (whole week), and will expect subdued trading volume from Hong Kong with most traders also out on holiday,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

Eagle Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun also noted that the PSEi’s performance was due to the Chinese New Year.

“There was very minimal trading on the PSE today as the bourse will be closed tomorrow for Chinese New Year… There was very minimal trading in blue chips, most trading was in second-liners and speculative issues because of the holiday [on Tuesday]. It is notable that it was still able to close above the key-8,000 level,” Mr. Mangun said in an e-mail.

Regina Capital’s Mr. Limlingan also noted that the US jobs and purchasing managers’ index data made analysts rethink the Federal Reserve’s dovish stance and whether the US economy is overheating.

Four sectoral indices were in negative territory, with holding firms dropping the most at 0.92% or 75.21 points to 8,030.02. Financials went down 0.79% or 14.78 points to 1,839.56; industrials shed 0.74% or 88.58 points to 11,735.45, while property tumbled 0.58% or 23.48 points to 3,982.28.

In contrast, mining and oil gained 0.83% or 71.26 points to 8,620.94, while services climbed 0.14% or 2.26 points to 1,608.46.

Some 3.27 billion issues switched hands valued at P7.32 billion, lower than Friday’s turnover of P8.97 billion. Excluding block sales, turnover would have only been at P4.7 billion.

Advancers beat decliners, 124 to 83, while 47 names were unchanged.

Net foreign selling was steady at P1.01 billion, slightly lower than the previous session’s P1.02 billion.

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 0.26% or 64.22 points to close at 25,063.89. The S&P 500 index added 0.09% or 2.43 points to 2,706.53, while the Nasdaq Composite index dipped 0.25% or 17.87 points to 7,263.87.

Meanwhile, most Southeast Asian stocks fell on Monday in lackluster trading as optimism about a trade deal between the United States and China waned.

Investors were skeptical about the actual progress made at the talks, especially with regard to core US demands for structural policy changes in China. Several people briefed on the talks said that while Chinese negotiators engaged US officials on intellectual property and technology transfer practices, they did not bring any new proposals to the table. — with Reuters