PSE index plunges on fears of tighter lockdown

PSE-Trading-Floor
PHILSTAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

PHILIPPINE SHARES closed in the red on Monday as parts of the country adopted stricter lockdown measures amid the continued surge in new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) tumbled by 176.09 points or 2.61% to end at 6,552.46, while the broader all shares index went down by 109.71 points or 2.7% to 3,949.87.

“The market collapsed as the possibility of a hard lockdown gets higher and higher as the days go by. Increased selling pressure coupled with a lack of buying at current levels, caused most blue chips to take substantial losses,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John J. Mangun said via e-mail.

“The surge in cases and the implementation of additional restrictions such as the curfew in Metro Manila has clouded our economic outlook,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

“The uncertainties on our economic outlook caused by our current COVID-19 situation is expected to continue weighing on investor sentiment,” Mr. Tantiangco added.

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The country logged 5,404 new coronavirus disease 2019 cases on Monday, the Health department reported. This brought the country’s infection tally to 626,893, with active cases at 53,479.

COVID-19 infections in the Philippines could hit an all-time daily record of 8,000 by end-March if the government fails to contain the pandemic, according to researchers from the University of the Philippines.

Cases could reach as many as 20,000 by mid-April, Fredegusto Guido P. David, a research fellow at UP’s OCTA Research Group, told ABS-CBN News Teleradyo on Sunday.

All sectoral indices closed in the red on Monday. Mining and oil dropped by 320.67 points or 3.66% to close at 8,440.78; services declined by 43.84 points or 3.01% to 1,412.38; holding firms slumped by 198.59 points or 2.85% to 6,750; property went down by 96.53 points or 2.85% to 3,263.71; financials decreased by 35.98 points or 2.55% to 1,374.30; and industrials fell by 187.37 points or 2.18% to finish at 8,402.59.

Value turnover climbed to P9.23 billion on Monday with 5.56 billion shares switching hands, up from the P6.87 billion with 3.41 billion issues traded on Friday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 207 versus 28, while 32 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling also surged to P1.12 billion on Monday from the P602.86 million seen on Friday.

“[Monday]’s steep drop gives opportunities for bargain hunting. However, we may not see a significant rebound as selling pressures may remain amid lingering COVID-19 concerns. Thus, we may see sideways movement from the market,” Mr. Tantiangco said.

AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun added that the PSEi may stay above 6,500 in the coming sessions unless restrictions on movement are tightened further. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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