• Stocks trip ahead of tax deadline, Lent


    Stocks fell as investors opted to cash in on recent gains before the onset of the Holy Week holiday and the tax season next month.

    The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index dropped 1.01 percent or 78.59 points to close at 7,730.95 on Monday, while the broader All Shares index ended lower by 1.04 percent or 47.46 points at 4,497.59.

    Harry Liu, president of Summit Securities Inc., told The Manila Times in a phone interview that trading was influenced by investors “preparing for the upcoming Holy Week and payment of taxes in early April,” as well as some nervousness in overseas markets and the end of the corporate earnings reporting period.

    “Most, if not all, of the financial earnings reports from companies are already out. The market is now in a medium-term correction phase given that investors were profit-taking on their past gains,” Liu said.

    He said the US markets’ negative behavior pulled down local stocks further.

    Wall Street indexes were down at the close of the last session, led by a 145-point decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

    Liu sees the current slips in share prices as part of an annual cycle, adding that reaction to any move by the US Federal Reserve on its key interest rates is not expected to create any sharp deviation from the cyclical pattern displayed by the market.

    “[Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Amando] Tetangco has already anticipated this (any decision reached by the US Fed on its key rates). From the way the market is moving, I think there is no reason for the market to decline a lot because of this. The recent downside is just a cyclical behavior of the market every year,” Liu added.

    The sectoral indices all ended in the red, with a 1.76-percent slump in the property index being the day’s biggest decline.

    International Container Terminal Services Inc., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., and GT Capital Holdings Inc. were the day’s active gainers, while top losers included Ayala Corp., Ayala Land Inc., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., SM Investments Corp., Energy Development Corp., Megaworld Corp., and Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc.

    Trade volume totaled 1.8 billion shares valued at P7.38 billion.

    Decliners outnumbered advancers 142 to 47, while 34 issues finished unchanged.

    On Friday, the benchmark 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 to 4,545.05.


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