The local stock barometer slipped below the 7,600 mark yesterday as weak US economic data, geopolitical tension in North Korea and the forthcoming elections in France curbed risk-taking across regional markets.
Resuming trading after a long Lenten break on a sluggish note, the main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 41.11 points or 0.54 percent to close at 7,588.53.
All counters ended in the red while volume was thin at P4.38 billion as many investors were still on a holiday mode after the long weekend break. Foreign investors were net sellers, resulting in a net outflow of P109.65 million from the local stock market.
“Philippine markets started on a negative note as value turnover remained small due to long holidays and lack of positive catalysts,” said Luis Gerardo Limlingan, managing director at local stockbrokerage Regina Capital Development.
Limlingan noted the uncertainty surrounding the imminent French presidential election alongside growing tension over North Korea.
“Tension between Washington and Pyongyang has escalated in recent weeks, unnerving Asian markets. US President Donald Trump is willing to consider ‘kinetic’ military action, including a sudden strike to counteract North Korea’s series of destabilizing actions, said two people familiar with the White House’s thinking. Lastly, investors are also on the sidelines as there are a few scheduled speaking engagements by (US Federal Reserve) officials this week, including a speech by Vice Chair Stanley Fischer later today,” Limlingan said.
On the French elections, the outcome of the polls puts at risk whether France—a founding member of the European Union—would do a “Frexit” similar to how Great Britain opted out of the economic bloc, also known as “Brexit.”
Meanwhile, it was reported that US retail sales declined at a faster pace than expected in March while annual core inflation slowed to 2 percent, the smallest advance in nearly two years.
At the local market, there were 106 decliners that outnumbered 74 advancers while 50 stocks were unchanged. Investors sold down shares of Megaworld and GT Capital, which both fell by more than 2 percent.
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