Worst annual performance in a decade
After a tumultuous year that saw the local stock barometer initially hitting all-time highs but reversing later to bearish territory, local equities ended 2018 with the worst annual performance seen in a decade.
The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 16.64 points, or 0.22 percent to close at 7,466.02 on Friday, the last trading day of 2018.
For the full year, the PSEi gave up a total of 1,092.4 points, or 12.8 percent from the closing level of 8,558.42 in 2017. This marked a reversal of the 25.1-percent market gain in the previous year.
This has been the worst year for the Philippine stock market since 2008, when the main index slumped by 48.3 percent at the height of the US-epicentered global financial crisis. Since then, the PSEi had climbed in most years, except in 2015 and 2016 when it declined, although at modest paces of 3.85 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
For regional equities, this has been the worst year for stock markets since 2011.
Gio Perez, analyst at local stock brokerage Papa Securities, said a quiet finish for the PSEi had been expected, with the support and resistance levels at the recent low of 7,350 and 7,563 still intact.
“Something to look forward to after this long weekend should be December’s inflation figure release on Friday, Jan. 4. A figure lower than November’s 6-percent driven by the already low prices of oil we’ve seen may give enough cause for the PSEi to gain strength again,” Perez said.
A major concern for the local market this year had been the surge in local inflation rate, largely due to surging global oil prices and rice supply bottlenecks which coincided with tax adjustments on oil. Such inflation jitters also contributed to the weakening of the local currency against the US dollar, a disincentive for investors.
On Friday, the local market continued to suffer from foreign selling. Net foreign selling amounted to nearly P198 million.
Elsewhere in the region, stock markets traded with mixed sentiment on Friday.
The PSEi was weighed down most by the industrial, holding firm and mining/oil counters. On the other hand, the financial, services and property counters eked out modest gains.
Value turnover for the day hit P5.66 billion. Many investors have gone on long holidays for the Christmas and New Year long weekends.
Despite the PSEi’s decline, market breadth was positive, which suggested that some investors were looking at smaller-cap issues. There were 118 advancers that edged out 81 decliners while 48 stocks were unchanged.
Meralco lost 3.75 percent, while PLDT fell by 2.17 percent. SM Investments, Jollibee and Aboitiz Power all slipped by over 1 percent.
On the other hand, ICTSI gained 2.04 percent, while Metrobank and RRHI both added over 1 percent.
Outside the PSEi, investors snapped up shares of Megawide, which gained 2.78 percent, while Vista Land added 2.08 percent.
BDO, the day’s most actively traded company, rose by 0.85 percent, while BPI added 0.53 percent.
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