PSEi plummets as new COVID-19 variant stokes fears across the globe
Philippine stocks saw a selloff on Friday over worries a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa may spread, derailing the country’s economic recovery.
The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) fell 1.23 percent, or 90.83 points, to 7,278.44 while the broader all-shares index lost 1.07 percent, or 41.88 points, to 3,871.39.
Local equities matched declines across the region after the World Health Organization said it was monitoring the variant called B.1.1.529, which showed a large number of mutations.
According to reports, the variant contained mutations associated with an increase in antibody resistance, potentially cutting the effectiveness of vaccines.
The United Kingdom and Israel temporarily suspended flights from South Africa and nearby countries.
Emerging from the Thanksgiving holiday, stock futures in the United States were also down sharply as of Friday afternoon.
While the number of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines remained low on Friday, analysts said they were also wary of a surge following the busy Christmas holidays.
Yesterday, all PSE subsectors ended lower as investors fled to safer assets.
Property stocks dropped the most at 1.87 percent, followed by services (-1.66 percent), financials (-1.39 percent), mining and oil (-1.06 percent), industrial (-0.78 percent) and holding firms (-0.63 percent).
Trading volume accelerated on Friday with 1.04 billion shares valued at P9.97 billion changing hands.
Foreigners continued to cut their holdings, with net sales of P545.03 million.
Data from the PSE showed 135 losers versus 66 gainers, while 43 companies closed unchanged.
Monde Nissin Corp. was the most actively traded during the session as it sank 1.57 percent to P17.60 per share.
It was followed by AC Energy Corp., down 1.34 percent to P11.74; Ayala Land Inc., down 2.43 percent to P36.20; SM Prime Holdings Inc., down 1.21 percent to P36.60; and BDO Unibank Inc., down 2.61 percent to P127 per share.
Other actively traded stocks were Globe Telecom, down 2.86 percent to P3,400; SM Investments Corp., up 0.15 percent to P979.50; Converge ICT Solutions Inc., down 0.66 percent to P30.15; PLDT Inc., down 2.64 percent to P1,699; and Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., down 1.19 percent to P49.90 per share.
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