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Shares sink on local transmission of virus strain

By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

PHILIPPINE shares declined anew on Tuesday as the country confirmed the local transmission of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) variant from the United Kingdom (UK).

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped 94.34 points or 1.33% to finish the session at 6,977.16, while the broader all shares index fell 81.69 points or 1.92% to end at 4,168.96.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a mobile phone message that the market ended lower as investors unloaded shares amid the local transmission of the new COVID-19 variant in Bontoc, Mountain Province.

“The market closed in the red territory amid stricter lockdown measure worries after the mounting cases of a new COVID-19 variant. Stringent lockdown measures are not good for the economy, particularly that we are just in the beginning phase of recovery,” Ms. Alviar said.

Reuters reported that the Health department has confirmed the local transmission of the new COVID-19 variant first detected in Britain.

Dubbed B.1.1.7, the new variant has infected 12 people in Bontoc, bringing the total number local cases of the strain to 17.

AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said the local bourse closed in negative territory as market sentiment remained cautious.

“The lack of optimism from investors may be coming from the lack of positive news from companies with regards to their fourth quarter performances. Most issues have lost all of their gains for 2021, with prices going back to where they were at the beginning of December,” Mr. Mangun said in an e-mail.

All sectoral indices at the PSE ended lower on Tuesday. Mining and oil declined 494.33 points or 5.36% to 8,718.37; financials went down 26.37 points or 1.79% to 1,444.51; holding firms retreated 127.7 points or 1.77% to 7,085.63; services shrank 24.66 points or 1.6% to 1,516.3; property decreased 46.89 points or 1.29% to 3,562.38; and industrials lost 21.83 points or 0.24% to 9,079.54.

Value turnover on Tuesday amounted to P11.56 billion with 74.53 billion issues switching hands, a jump from the P9.11 billion with 79.86 billion shares logged in the previous session.

Decliners dominated advancers, 209 against 29, while 31 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling climbed to P504.07 million yesterday from the net P311.43 million that left the market on Monday.

“Breaching the significant support area at 7,000, 6,700 now becomes the next support level to watch,” Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading Darren Blaine T. Pangan said via text.

“The next major support for the PSEi is at 6,740. The bloodbath continued for second and third liners as investors are now unloading positions at a massive scale. This trend may also continue until the end of the week,” AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun said.

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