PLDT downgrade pulls down PSEi

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SHARE princes fell on Friday as investor sentiment was dampened by fears of a US Fed rate hike, a slowdown in China and a Fitch downgrade for blue chip Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

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The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell by 0.59 percent or 40.33 points to 6,850.61 while the wider All Shares index lost 0.46 percent or 18.26 points to settle at 3,957.19.

Alexander Adrian Tiu, AB Capital Securities Inc. equity analyst, said the market was pulled down by the continued global volatility on worries that the US Federal Reserve could finally start raising interest rates and a slowing Chinese economy.

“It’s still due to continued volatility. For locals, the decline in PLDT also had an effect to the market due to the Fitch downgrade. It is one of the bigger blue chip stocks . . . of the 40-points decline today, about 10 points came from PLDT,” Tiu said.

Earlier this week, Fitch Ratings downgraded PLDT’s long-term local currency issuer default rating to BBB+ from A- previously, noting a rise in capital expenditures and revenue pressures.

At the end of Friday’s trading, PLDT shares lost P44 or 2.02 percent to close P2,136 per.

Tiu said some investors were on the sidelines given the lack of catalysts, with value turnover being at only P6.34 billion—lower than the normal P7 billion to P8 billion. Total traded shares stood at 1.403 billion.

Tiu said investors still couldn’t get over their fea r of a potential US rate hike anytime soon, which could lead to a range of 6,800 to 7,000 in the next few days “with a potential bearish bias to support levels.”

“Investors still can’t decide. There is the volatility, also the third quarter earnings and the Santa Claus rally moving forward. It really depends. We’ll have to see,” he said.

Other than PLDT, the most active losers were SM Investments Corp., GT Capital Holdings Inc., Ayala Land, Inc., Ionics, Inc., and Ayala Corp. BDO Unibank, Inc. ended flat while Universal Robina Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., and Energy Development Corp. were the top gainers.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 92 to 72 while 40 issues were unmoved.

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