Stocks end lower in thin trade

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Local stocks slipped Monday but stayed afloat 6,500 in thin trade ahead of the “ghost month,” which starts Wednesday.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 24.22 points or 0.37 percent to close at 6,509.73. Across regional markets, trading was mostly sluggish on weaker-than-expected US jobs data alongside the nearing “ghost month” in the Chinese calendar.

At the local market, all counters were in the red except for mining/oil, which was only modestly higher.

“It’s going to be this way for a few more weeks. The market needs to see confirmation of sustained macroeconomic and EPS (earnings per share) growth,” said Gus Cosio, president of First Metro Asset Management Inc.

Value turnover was thin at P4.99 billion. There were only 58 advancers as against 93 decliners while 39 other issues closed unchanged.

The “ghost month” refers to the seventh month in the lunar calendar when it is deemed unlucky to make big investments. This period begins Aug. 7 and will run through Sept. 4.

The index was weighed down most by Bloomberry (-3.74 percent), Aboitiz Equity Ventures (-3.4 percent and Robinsons Land (-3.08 percent) while Metro Pacific Investments, Aboitiz Power, Belle and DMCI all fell more than 2 percent. BDO, URC and Globe also lost more than 1 percent.

On the other hand, the PSEi’s  decline was tempered  by the gains of Jollibee (+2.44 percent) and Ayala Land (+1.03 percent). Metrobank, Megaworld, Philex, EDC, PLDT and ICTSI also contributed some gains.

SM rose 0.23 percent to P881 but was still lower than the P900-a-share price at which the country’s most valuable conglomerate accepted a private placement last Friday.

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