Stocks drop on profit taking, slow vaccine rollout

SHARES declined on Friday as the slow progress of the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program clouded market sentiment.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down by 45.15 points or 0.69% to close at 6,494.81 on Friday, while the broader all shares index fell by 16.07 points or 0.4% to 3,981.51.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said the index declined as investors pocketed their gains from the market’s two-day climb.

“Market sentiment is still weighed by pandemic concerns,” Mr. Tantiangco added in a Viber message. “Uncertainties towards the pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout here in the Philippines is also denting investor confidence.”

“Investors chose to take a cautious stance while monitoring the vaccine rollout in the country, and while evaluating the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic to the local economy,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a separate Viber message.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte said in a televised speech on Thursday that no one knows when the country will receive enough vaccines to inoculate its population against the virus. Of the three million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that have arrived so far, only 1.26 million doses have been administered.

Meanwhile, Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said investors chose to trade in markets offshore instead.

“Philippines shares closed lower as investors flocked back to the US market following their strong bank earnings reports and positive economic data releases, signaling accelerating recovery in the world’s largest economy,” Mr. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

Sectoral indices were split on Friday. Mining and oil improved by 168.54 points or 1.91% to 8,971.25; financials gained 0.91 point or 0.06% to 1,393.32; and services inched up by 0.05 point to end at 1,442.11.

Meanwhile, property declined by 46.37 points or 1.42% to 3,199.31; holding firms lost 50.51 points or 0.75% to finish at 6,616.88; and industrials went down by 20.67 points or 0.24% to 8,607.48.

Value turnover went up to P5.67 billion with 6.77 billion shares switching hands on Friday, from the P5.42 billion with 4.30 billion issues traded on Thursday.

Decliners narrowly beat advancers, 108 versus 104, while 44 names closed unchanged.
Net foreign outflows went down to P522.31 million on Friday from the P591.66 million seen the previous trading day. — K.C.G. Valmonte