Stocks slip ahead of FOMC meeting

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PROFIT-TAKING pushed the local bourse lower on Friday, with investors opting to collect gains from the last few weeks’ advance while waiting for the outcome of the meeting of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) set for next week.

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The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 30.28 points or 0.39 percent to close at 7,809.54, while the All Shares index shed 5.49 points or 0.12 percent, finishing the week at 4,545.05.

Jonathan Ravelas, BDO chief market strategist, said the PSEi dropped despite generally positive global stock indices as local market players “capitalized on their gains while some remained sidelined ahead of the FOMC meeting next week.”

The US Federal Reserve’s FOMC meeting is scheduled for March 18.

Citisecurities Inc. Vice President Lawrence C. Lee said the market sell-off on Friday was only needed “to recover” from being overbought over the past two months.

“Even a big surge last night [in US markets on Thursday was]not enough to push prices higher when everyone is already in the market,” Lee said.

“A sluggish climb higher is the most likely scenario in the short term,” he added.

The financial and industrial sectoral counters posted slight gains on Friday while the rest of the subindices retreated, led by the property sector with a 1.10 percent dip, and services, which shed 1.06 percent.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 90 to 77, while 49 issues closed unchanged. Total volume traded amounted to 2.79 billion shares, while value turnover stood at P8.44 billion.

On Thursday, the main (PSEi) inched up 0.63 percent or 49.12 points to 7,839.82, while the wider All Shares index firmed 0.60 percent or 26.92 points to 4,550.54.

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