Local shares plunge as COVID-19 cases surge

Philippine Stock Exchange index

PHILIPPINE shares fell on Friday as investor sentiment was affected by the surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell 3.6% or 236.38 points to close at 6,320.19 while the broader all shares index declined 2.04% or 82.99 points to finish at 3,976.94.

Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco, Philstocks Financial, Inc. senior research analyst, said the market was already posting losses for the majority of Friday’s trading day and was amplified by a last minute sell off.

“Sentiment was bearish due to the continuous rise in COVID-19 cases. The detection of more cases with the Delta variant also added to the pessimism,” Mr. Tantiangco said in a mobile phone message.

The Department of Health reported on Friday that the country posted 13,177 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 1,713,302. It also reported that there are 96,395 active COVID-19 cases in the country.

The Health department also reported 299 new deaths, putting the country’s total death toll at 29,838. Meanwhile, new recoveries reached 4,322, bringing the total to 1,587,069.

AB Capital Securities, Inc. Junior Equity Analyst Lance U. Soledad said in a mobile phone message that the market’s close on Friday was the biggest percentage decline this year amid the last day of the index’s rebalancing.

“I think the index will continue to trade with a downward bias given that several major economic data as well as rebalancing changes have been reported, and investors will now be focusing on COVID-19 numbers,” Mr. Soledad said.

Among sectoral indices, the financials index was the only gainer at the end of Friday’s trading, rising by 0.01% or 0.25 points to 1,419.65.

Holdings firms dropped 5.21% or 340.42 points to 6,188.59; property shrank 3.88% or 118.53 points to 2,936.5; services went down 2.54% or 41.06 points to

1,573.22; mining and oil decreased 1.85% or 181.81 points to 9,599.99; and industrials retreated 1.12% or 104.68 points to 9,223.62.

Decliners bested advancers, 134 against 63, while 45 names ended unchanged.

Value turnover on Friday reached P14.36 billion with 1.93 billion issues switching hands, down from the P18.23 billion with 4.16 billion issues traded the prior day.

Net foreign buying reached P259.73 million, higher than the P50 million worth of net foreign buying recorded on Thursday.

“The continued rise in positivity rate and daily cases increases the possibility of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) extension in the capital. We are looking at 6,270 as the next support level,” Mr. Soledad said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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