Stocks weaken further as investors turn cautious

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PSE BGC bells

LOCAL SHARES saw extended weakness, ending below the 7,800 mark on Monday as investors took money off the table ahead of the shortened trading week.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down 1.17% or 92.84 points to close at 7,787.98 on Monday. The broader all-shares index also dropped by 0.94% or 46 points to close at 4,817.15.

“Investors continued to take money off the table given the short trading week. There’s some support at 7,750 and combined with sustained foreign buying,…today’s dip could be treated as a buying opportunity. First quarter results and a potential BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) rate cut are the catalysts to watch for pushing the market upward,” PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said in a text message on Monday.

Net foreign buying grew to P305.94 million on Monday from the previous session’s P265.28-million net inflows.

BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said Friday that a cut in interest rates will “be on agenda” at its third policy review for this year, which happens next month.

Policy rates are now at 4.35% for overnight deposit, a decade-high 4.75% for overnight reverse repurchase and 5.25% for overnight lending after a total of 175-basis-point increase last year.

The central bank chief also hinted on a reduction in big banks’ reserve requirement ratio, which is currently at 18%.

“The PSEi ended negative after the last-minute sell-off in 21 out of the 30 blue-chip stocks dragged the index lower by 92 points. There are a number of economic data that will be released by the US, Japan, and China this week so I think investors are liquidating shares ahead of the long weekend to book some profits and to avoid market shock in case investors react negatively to the data once our bourse opens on Monday,” said Jervin S. de Celis, an equity trader from Timson Securities, Inc.

Due for release this week are data on China’s purchasing managers’ index for March, Japan’s industrial production for February, and US retail sales and jobless claims.

“If we see improvements in these data, that may lift market sentiment in our neighboring markets and might push our index higher by next week. If the reports disappoint, then that may renew concerns on global growth and can dampen sentiments in our market by next week,” Mr. De Celis explained.

All sectoral indices ended in the red on Monday. Holding firms booked the highest decline at 2.17% or 166.33 points to 7,497.96. This was followed by services which dropped 1.15% or 18.50 points to 1,586.10; industrials went down by 1.07% or 125.75 points to 11,631.68; mining and oil shed 0.98% or 75.87 points to 7,593.01; financials gave up 0.34% or 6.04 points to 1,727.20; and property went down by 0.05% or 2.05 points to 4,132.32.

Value turnover went up to P7.87 billion from Friday’s P7.03 billion as 1.18 billion issues changed hands.

Losers outnumbered advancers, 107 to 87, while 47 issues were unchanged. — V.M.P. Galang