PH stocks retreat from record highs


MANILA, Philippines—The local stocks index soared to a new record intra-day high in early session but closed in negative territory on Monday as lofty valuations tempted profit-taking.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index closed 19.82 points or 0.29 percent lower at 6,813.95.  This was after hitting a new record intra-day peak of 6,867.10 as an improved US jobs data lifted most stock markets in the region.

Dealers said the market was ripe for a correction after a strong performance since the start of the year.

Trading was mixed across counters: the industrial, financial and holding firms declined while the services, mining and oil and property counters gained.

On Monday, the PSEi recomposition took effect, with Bloomberry Resorts (+1.96 percent) joining the roster and SM Development Corp. (-2.36 percent) dropping out.

The index was battered by a last-minute selldown by a big institutional investor on AP (-7.27 percent) and SMC (-5.74 percent), dealers said. SMIC, Megaworld, Metrobank, AEV, MPI, MWC, BDO, PLDT, Meralco and AC also contributed to the decline.

Asked whether institutional investors may be starting to bring back funds to the US, where stocks are now reaching record highs, Asiasec Equities Inc. chief strategist Manny Cruz said this wasn’t yet the case. “It’s a possibility but usually throughout the bull run, they just park their money in fixed income. It’s a different story when they pull out the funds.”

Cruz said in the case of Indonesia, some funds pulled out after the sovereign obtained an investment grade rating but eventually faced some problems in the banking system.

In the case of the Philippines, Cruz said the market needed some space to correct because by the time the first quarter results come out, usually the market advances anew.

Cruz said the PSEi may pull back to as low as 6,400 to allow the market to allow the market to establish a stronger base.

Value turnover for the day amounted to P10.99 billion.  Despite the overall index decline, the advancers (78) slightly edged out decliners (76) as investors who pocketed gains from blue chips looked at opportunities in non-PSEi stocks.

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