Omicron clobbers PH stocks; PSEi plunges below 7,000
Philippine stocks were slammed by a major selldown as the benchmark index plummeted over 250 points on Wednesday as the Omicron variant challenged the early stirrings of an economic rebound.
By the closing bell, the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) fell 3.52 percent, or 253.82 points, to 6,947.06 while the broader all-shares index lost 2.7 percent, or 103.75 points, to 3,734.38.
Investors fled risky equities as the local market emerged from a holiday and after Wall Street indices tumbled overnight. Net foreign selling alone hit P1.25 billion at the PSE.
Adding to investors’ woes were comments made by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell that talks over the slowing down of market-supporting asset purchases was on the table in the Fed’s next meeting this month.
Meanwhile, BioNTech and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine would likely offer strong protection against severe effects from the Omicron variant, BioNTech CEO and cofounder Ugur Sahin told Reuters.
Property worst hit
“We think it’s likely that people will have substantial protection against severe disease caused by Omicron,” he added.
Uncertainty over the kind of threat posed by the variant dragged all PSE subindices lower on Wednesday.
Property stocks tanked the most with a 5.01-percent drop, followed by services, down 3.71 percent and holding firms, down 3.26 percent.
Financials and industrial companies each lost 2.36 percent while mining and oil shed 1.96 percent.
A total of 1.37 billion shares valued at P14.43 billion changed hands. There were 165 decliners against 40 gainers, while 42 companies closed unchanged.
AC Energy Corp., which dropped 4.61 percent to P10.76 per share, was the most actively traded on Wednesday.
It was followed by Monde Nissin Corp., down 0.12 percent to P17; International Container Terminal Services, down 2.53 percent to P192.90; BDO Unibank Inc., down 4.84 percent to P118; and Ayala Land Inc., down 3.77 percent to P33.20 per share.
Other big movers were Globe Telecom Inc., down 4.45 percent to P3,136; Jollibee Foods Corp., down 5.87 percent to P221.20; SM Prime Holdings Inc., down 6.42 percent to P35; PLDT Inc. down 4.17 percent to P1,610 and SM Investments Corp., down 4.9 percent to P932 per share.
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