THE MAIN INDEX declined on Monday due to a lack of catalysts and amid inflation concerns in the United States, which raised fears of a sooner-than-expected tapering by the US Federal Reserve.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) declined by 34.36 points or 0.55% to close at 6,164.89 on Monday, while the all shares index went down by 21.46 points or 0.55% to 3,821.27.

“There was no fresh lead in the market and most traders were seen on the sidelines given the weak participation,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message. 

Value turnover went down to P4.48 billion on Monday with 1.09 billion issues traded, from the P5.03 billion with 1.63 billion shares that switched hands on Friday.

“Philippine shares kicked off Monday on a weak note on concerns about the Federal Reserve Policy in the face of rising inflation pressures,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a separate Viber message.

“In particular, sentiment was pulled down as the US market has long traded at a premium to global peers but the trend has been reinforced by the steady transformation of the index towards technology-orientated companies that are growing quickly and are very profitable,” Mr. Limlingan added. 

Federal Reserve officials should start talking about the best way to reduce their asset purchases “sooner rather than later,” Philadelphia Fed Bank President Patrick Harker said on Friday, Reuters reported.

The policy maker said unwinding the central bank’s asset purchases from the current pace of $120 billion a month would be the “first step” in removing the support the Fed is offering the economy.

Mr. Harker also said he wants to see inflation move above the Fed’s 2% target and averaging 2% over time, with inflation expectations anchored at 2%, before it would be “appropriate” to talk about tapering.

All sectoral indices closed in the red on Monday. Property lost 50.54 points or 1.68% to end at 2,950.39; mining and oil dropped by 58.41 points or 0.62% to 9,252.82; industrials gave up 37.60 points or 0.43% to close at 8,540.52; financials declined by 3.32 points or 0.24% to finish at 1,369.15; services inched down by 3.41 points or 0.23% to 1,450.28; and holding firms went down by 11.68 points or 0.19% to 6,132.86.

Decliners outperformed advancers, 127 versus 79, while 40 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling increased to P667.86 million on Monday from the P512.74 million in net outflows logged on Friday.

Philstocks Financial’s Ms. Alviar said she expects a “market rebound” on Tuesday with immediate support at 6,150, but noted that no catalysts can push the market higher.

“Investors will be monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) daily cases and will be waiting for the next quarantine measures in June. Meanwhile, the first-quarter earnings results helped investors see companies that have started to recover from the pandemic,” Ms. Alviar added. — K.C.G. Valmonte with Reuters