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Omicron fears send stocks falling anew

PSEi drops to as low as 7,000, but bargain hunters stem bleeding
/ 04:05 AM November 30, 2021

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) opened the week lower as fears over the Omicron variant dampened market sentiments.

Heavy buying during the session, however, cut losses by the closing bell, with some analysts calling the drop an overreaction.

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The PSEi ended trading down by 1.07 percent, or 77.56 points, to 7,200.88 while the broader all-shares index lost 0.86 percent, or 33.26 points, to 3,838.13.

The benchmark measure bounced back over 200 points from the session low of 7,000, as bargain hunters entered the scene.

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BDO Unibank Inc. chief strategist Jonathan Ravelas said the early session selloff was a “knee-jerk reaction.”

“We need to know more about Omicron,” said Ravelas, who earlier pegged the near-term support at 7,000.

Analysts expect news on Omicron, tagged by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern, to hang over market sentiments in the coming days.

Travel bans up

So far, countries are again raising travel barriers. The Philippines said on Sunday Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy were added to countries in the “red list” from Nov. 28 to Dec. 15. Filipinos arriving from red-list countries will be subjected to facility-based quarantine for 14 days with RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing on the seventh day.

South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique were earlier placed on the list immediately following the announcement of the detection of the new COVID-19 variant.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier called on countries to lift the bans, saying these were not justified.

Service subsector lone winner

PSE subsectors all closed lower save for services, which gained 0.51 percent with help from Converge ICT Solutions Inc., which rallied over 6 percent.

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Industrial and holding firms were the biggest losers, each shedding 1.71 percent and 1.53 percent, respectively.

Data from the PSE showed nearly 2 billion shares valued at P28 billion changing hands while foreigners ended up net buyers to the tune of P651.5 million.There were 150 decliners versus 57 gainers while 45 companies closed unchanged.

Monde Nissin Corp. was the most actively traded on Monday as it sank 3.3 percent to P17.02 per share.

It was followed by AC Energy Corp., down 3.92 percent to P11.28, BDO Unibank Inc., down 2.36 percent to P124, SM Prime Holdings Inc., up 2.19 percent to P37.40 and Globe Telecom, down 3.47 percent to P3,282 per share.

Stocks such as Ayala Land Inc. (down 4.7 percent to P34.50), Ayala Corp. (down 4.35 percent to P836), Universal Robina Corp. (up 0.61 percent to P133), Converge (up 6.14 percent to P32) and International Container Terminal Services (up 1.23 percent to P197.90) also saw heavy trading. INQ

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TAGS: Business, Omicron, PSEi, stocks
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