PSEi drops as virus weighs on investor sentiment

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STOCKS declined on Wednesday as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation here and abroad continued to affect market sentiment.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down by 61.03 points or 0.93% to close at 6,439.39 on Wednesday, while the all shares index declined by 24.49 points or 0.61% to end at 3,964.34.

“The PSEi swung back and ended lower again today due to losses in a couple of large-cap blue chips, mainly $SMPH (SM Prime Holdings, Inc.) and $SM (SM Investments Corp.),” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John J. Mangun said via e-mail.

“The increased selling pressure on blue chips may be a sign of frustration from investors due to the lack of concrete positive developments on the health crisis,” Mr. Mangun added. “Trading volumes still remain low. There may be some optimism because of the drop in new COVID-19 cases reported the day before, but overall, the sentiment remains cautious.”

Value turnover inched up to P5.37 billion on Wednesday with 3.46 billion shares switching hands, from the P5.52 billion seen on Tuesday with 5.84 billion shares.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said concerns on rising COVID-19 cases around the world also affected market sentiment.

“In Asia, some parts of Japan may put on lockdown due to the new wave of COVID-19 infections and India sets new records for cases and deaths,” Ms. Alviar said in a Viber message on Wednesday. “Also, the restriction of the US on traveling to the Philippines weighs further on sentiment.”

“This continues to cause some anxiety for investors, as it may delay the current global economic growth projections,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a separate Viber message.

The Health department on Wednesday reported 9,227 new COVID-19 infections, which brought the country’s tally to 962,307. Active cases are at 116,434.

Majority of the PSE’s sectoral indices ended the day in the red except services, which inched up by 12.19 points or 0.84% to finish at 1,451.40.

Meanwhile, property lost 67.14 points or 2.09% to end at 3,136.11; holding firms decreased by 67.26 points or 1.02% to 6,526.58; mining and oil declined by 69.83 points or 0.75% to close at 9,190.16; financials went down by 8.88 points or 0.63% to 1,391.60; and industrials gave up 13.53 points or 0.15% to finish at 8,690.36.

Advancers outperformed decliners, 108 against 92, while 52 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling climbed to P776.80 million on Wednesday from the P486.97 million in the previous trading day.

AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun said the main index might “bounce back” in the next session, while Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said he expects the index to finish between the 6,400 to 7,300 range. — K.C.G. Valmonte