MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine stocks stuck out like a sore thumb against rising markets in the United States and Asia after falling in Thursday?s trade.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped 11.75 points or 0.36 percent to 3,211.60. The broader all shares market lost 7.98 points or 0.41 percent to 1,955.04.
In a trading session that totaled 2.1 billion shares valued at P3.3 billion, 61 stocks fell, 30 ended higher and 57 closed unchanged.
Foreign investors sold property stocks and trimmed their exposure ahead of a protest rally against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this Friday in Makati City, dealers said. The property index fell 4.1 percent or 52 points to 1,215.56.
?The property counter is dragging the market on concern about slower sales from overseas Filipino workers,? ATR Kim Eng Securities president Lorenzo Roxas said.
Property firm Megaworld Corp, which accounted for P218 million, or 6.5 percent, of total value turnover, dropped P0.15 or 5.6 percent to P2.55. Ayala Land Inc., which accounted for 6.14 percent, or P206 million, of total trade, fell P1.00 or 7.4 percent to P12.50 on mixed sentiment over its plan to offer one billion shares.
Analysts said Ayala Land?s share price had fallen by as much as 32 percent since June 2007, which they said made a debt issue a more attractive option to raise funds than a stocks offer.
This Friday, civil society and religious groups will stage a mass protest action at the corner of Paseo de Roxas and Ayala Avenue in the Makati business district to demand Arroyo?s ouster over new allegations of corruption.
?There?s political noise that makes the market cautious,? said Nestor Aguila of DA Market Securities. ?Investors cannot afford to be complacent because of the shaky political situation in the country.?
Jose Vistan of AB Capital Securities said investors at first ?brushed aside the noise.?
?Now, they are getting nervous because more groups are calling for President Arroyo to step down,? he said.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. rose P30 to close at P2,990. Food and drinks giant San Miguel Corp.?s Class A shares, reserved for Filipinos, were steady at P52. Its Class B shares, which have no ownership restriction, fell P0.50 to P52.
Throughout Asia, stocks surged Thursday as surprisingly good economic figures from Japan and the United States sparked hope that share price prospects were less gloomy than feared.
Japan?s economy, the world?s second largest, grew at 3.7 percent year-on-year in the October-December quarter. US retail sales unexpectedly rose in January, according to data released Wednesday.
Japan?s expansion came despite fears that a looming recession in the US, a key buyer of Asian goods and services, is set to slow world growth.
But experts cautioned the outlook for Japan and the world economy was still tough after a default crisis among subprime, or riskier, US mortgages, which has ballooned into a debilitating global credit crunch. With a report from Agence France-Presse; edited by INQUIRER.net