Shares inch down as investors pocket their gains

By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

PHILIPPINE SHARES inched lower on Thursday as investors booked profits and remained wary of rising coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases around the world.

ThePhilippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped 1.68 points or 0.02% to end at 7,298.02, while the broader all shares index fell 0.16 point to 4,350.29.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said the market ended lower due to profit taking.

“Traders took to profit taking amid strong psychological resistance at 7,300 level, along with the overvaluation of the PSEi in terms of price to earnings ratio which is around 21x, higher than the five-year average of around 18x.” Ms. Alviar said in a mobile phone message.

“The last minute bargain hunting did not save the bourse from the negative territory, but losses were thinner at close,” she added.

For AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun, the local bourse ended flat as investors remain confident in the market, which helped offset those who pocketed their gains.

“The PSEi ended flat on last-minute buying as the majority of investors remain confident and are willing to stay in the market, evident in the above average trading volumes that we continue to see,” Mr. Mangun said in an e-mail.

Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a mobile phone message that the market declined as investors remain cautious on the global COVID-19 infection count.

According to the Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard, the global COVID-19 case count as of Dec. 17 was at 74.21 million cases.

It said the United States still had the most COVID-19 cases at 16.96 million, followed by India at 9.96 million, Brazil at 7.04 million, and Russia at 2.71 million.

Back home, the majority of sectoral indices at the PSE ended in red territory on Thursday. Property declined 34.31 points or 0.92% to 3,693.7; industrials retreated 51.82 points or 0.54% to 9,477.91; financials shrank 8.09 points or 0.53% to 1,506.22; and mining and oil went down 23.45 points or 0.24% to 9,538.98.

Meanwhile, services improved 10.37 points or 0.67% to 1,537.49, and holding firms rose 50.05 points or 0.66% to 7,560.99.

Value turnover on Thursday reached P9.26 billion with 32.64 billion issues switching hands, lower than the P9.31 billion with 117.64 billion issues seen during the previous session.

Decliners bested advancers, 117 versus 105, while 49 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling amounted to P739.83 million on Thursday, an increase from  the net P501.32 million that left the market on Wednesday.

“As we draw closer towards the end of the week, we may have to see if the nearest support at 6,700 holds, with immediate resistance lying at the 7,500 area,” Mr. Pangan said.

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