PSEi tracks Wall St fall

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Philippine shares slipped on Monday after posting an all-time high in the previous session as investors found no strong reason to resist taking profit especially given declines on Wall Street late last week.

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Trading in the US reflected fears of a possible interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve following the release of improved US labor market data.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) eased 0.52 percent or 41.04 points to close at 7,820.29, while the All Shares index shed 0.45 percent or 20.62 points to 4,545.37.

On Friday last week, the PSEi hit a new all-time closing high of 7,861.33, the 19th time this year it set a new record, underpinned by investor optimism and unmindful of an uptick in February inflation to 2.5 percent from 2.4 percent a month ago.

Joyce Anne Ramos, AB Capital Securities Inc. analyst, said the PSEi on Monday tracked the fall on overseas markets, particularly Wall Street.

The US unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since May 2008 at 5.5 percent in February from 5.7 percent a month earlier.

“This fanned speculation that the Federal Reserve will hike its interest rates soon. Another factor is market consolidation after the PSEi failed to breach resistance at 7,865 [on Friday],” she added.

Sharing the same view, Jonathan Ravelas, BDO Chief Market strategist, said the market was slightly lower as the drop on Wall Street on Friday caused investors to cash in on their gains the previous week.

The financials index rose 0.08 percent, posting the only gain among the indices, while the rest registered losses, led by the property sector with a 1.41 percent drop.

Among individual companies, Manila Water Company Inc. posted the biggest loss among the most actively traded stocks, falling 3.77 percent. Other major decliners in Monday trade were Bloomberry Resorts Corp., which tumbled 3.08 percent, and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which fell 2.08 percent.

Trade volume on Monday reached 2.19 billion shares valued at P8.33 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers 112 to 69, while 47 issues ended unchanged.

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