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PHL stocks drop on lingering concerns over virus

STOCKS declined on Thursday as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) variant originally detected in India and economic data released last week continued to affect market sentiment.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 48.07 points or 0.77% to close at 6,197.64, while the broader all shares index declined by 12.59 points or 0.32% to 3,840.31.

“Market continued its downtrend today even as the infection rates has gone down, but increase in the Indian variants infections in the country may cause uncertainties while vaccine rollout continues at slow pace,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message on Thursday.

“Investors are yet to shake fears of lingering economic weakness implied by the negative first quarter GDP (gross domestic product) number and the ongoing GCQ (general community quarantine) with ‘heightened’ restrictions and so the market dip,” First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message.

On Thursday, the Health department reported 6,100 new cases of COVID-19. The Philippines currently has 1.17 million COVID-19 cases, 51,912 of which are active. The positivity rate stood at 12.6%.

NCR Plus, which includes Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, is under a GCQ lockdown classification “with heightened restrictions” until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported last week that the country’s GDP fell by an annual 4.2% in the first three months of the year, marking five consecutive quarters of decline.

Majority of sectoral indices closed in the red except for mining and oil, which gained 145.23 points or 1.58% to end at 9,286.89.

Meanwhile, holding firms shaved off 82.52 points or 1.32% to 6,136.71; services declined by 4.09 points or 0.28% to 1,457.18; financials went down by 3.71 points or 0.26% to 1,376.47; property lost 6.27 points or 0.2% to finish at 2,990.32; and industrials dropped by 11.58 points or 0.13% to 8,572.24.

Value turnover increased to P5.52 billion on Thursday with 2.97 billion shares switching hands, from the P4.83 billion with 1.56 billion issues traded the previous trading day.

Advancers beat decliners, 101 versus 90, while 50 names closed unchanged. Net foreign selling soared to P731.23 million on Thursday from the P457.83 million in net outflows logged on Wednesday.

“For investors’ confidence to improve, economic data news flow must shift from weakness to strength. That will happen soon and the inspiration in the near term could be the upcoming mega-IPO (initial public offering) and the REIT (real estate investment trust) pipeline that now includes Robinsons Land Corp.,” FMIC’s Ms. Ulang said.

Diversified Securities’ Mr. Pangan said he expects Friday trading to be “still volatile with a downward bias,” with the PSEi to trade within the 6,000 to 6,500 range. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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