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Stocks fall as government tightens restrictions

STOCKS closed the week in the red as the government tightened lockdown measures for the next two weeks to curb the rising number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down by 194.75 points or 2.93% to close at 6,436.10 on Friday, while the broader all shares index slumped by 95.68 points or 2.38% to end at 3,909.41.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said the market plunged “due to the localized lockdown and more restrictive measures by the government.”

“Negative sentiment in the market spilled over as the government [tightened] lockdown measures in Metro Manila to control the spread of the COVID-19 cases,” Ms. Alviar said in a Viber message.

“Non-essential businesses will operate again either at limited capacity or operation will be suspended for the next two weeks,” Ms. Alviar added. “These measures are expected to harm the economic recovery of the Philippines.”

“Losses were magnified on last-minute selling on fears of stricter lockdown measures to be imposed,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Junior Equity Analyst Lance U. Soledad said in a separate Viber message.

The Health department reported 7,103 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the country’s biggest daily increase in infections. This brought the tally to 648,066.

The government has tightened restrictions anew in Metro Manila and several areas until April 4, with driving schools, cultural centers and museums, cinemas and other non-essential facilities ordered to temporarily halt operations.

Meanwhile, Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan attributed the market’s close to offshore developments.

“Philippine shares were sold down towards [the] market on close as funds realigned with the latest FTSE rebalancing decision. In addition, sentiment spilled over as US equities ended lower yesterday, as the rise in treasury yields prompted investors to sell tech stocks,” Mr. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

All sectoral indices fell on Friday. Property dropped 149.43 points or 4.48% to 3,184.33; financials went down by 37.75 points or 2.62% to 1,398.58; services slumped by 37.07 points or 2.57% to 1,401.61; holding firms shaved off 165.5 points or 2.47% to close at 6,528.93; mining and oil decreased by 107.98 points or 1.25% to 8,511.15; and industrials declined by 61.98 points or 0.72% to 8,520.73.

Value turnover climbed to P10.41 billion on Friday with 3.53 billion shares switching hands from the P8.85 billion with 3.06 billion issues traded on Thursday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 157 versus 64, while 35 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling ballooned to P1.33 billion on Friday from the P397.96 million seen the previous trading day.

“For next week, we expect the index to retest the 6,400 support, with possible bargain hunting as the index is trading near oversold level,” AB Capital Securities’ Mr. Soledad said. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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