SHARES are projected to decline in the upcoming trading week as investors await the upcoming release of January inflation data.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed at 6,612.62 on Friday, lower by 239.22 points or 3.49% from the previous trading session.

Week on week, the PSEi’s close on Friday was lower by 433.21 points or 6.15% from its 7,045.83 finish on Jan. 22.

The market’s average value turnover for the week fell 18.1% to P10.39 billion, while average net foreign selling expanded to P1.33 billion.

Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a mobile phone message that the market is expected to decline as investors await the release of January inflation data on Friday.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last week said the country’s headline inflation likely settled within 3.3% to 4.1% in January due to the higher prices of fuel, power rates, and food products such as pork and chicken.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said the market’s movement in the upcoming week will depend on any fourth quarter earnings reports of companies.

“Support at around 6,500 level might be put to a test this week as the market’s bearishness continues to strengthen as momentum mimics the rise in selling pressure,” Mr. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

“If the support gets breached, investors might see this as a bargain hunting opportunity,” he added.

Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said the market is seen moving sideways this week amid the release of income reports.

“The market is seen to move sideways with immediate support at 6,517 while resistance at 6,740,” Mr. Pangan said in a mobile phone message.

Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said the index may move lower and try to establish a firmer base on its nearest support at the 6,500 area.

“If this doesn’t hold, next support would be at the 5,800 level where it previously consolidated,” Mr. Pangan said.

The benchmark index closed lower last month as market sentiment was affected by the ongoing spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country and around the world.

Compared with the previous month, the PSEi’s finish for January was lower by 527.09 points or 7.38% from the 7,139.71 close in December.

Mr. Pangan said the market started 2021 on a positive note, but faltered at the latter part of January.

In mid-January, the Philippines reported its first case of the new COVID-19 variant — first detected in Britain — in a 29-year-old Filipino male who arrived from the United Arab Emirates.

Since then, the country also confirmed the local transmission of the British COVID-19 variant in Bontoc, Mountain Province. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave