November 25, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Wall Street fortunes weigh on Philippine stocks

LOCAL EQUITIES retreated on Friday, opposite major Asian markets’ general rise, to follow Wall Street’s drop in the absence of any more compelling domestic developments.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index fell 31.4 points or 0.43% to 7,269.62 -- and by 1.03% on the week -- while the broader all-shares index dropped 9.93 points 0.23% to 4,376.74.

The trading day follows the decision on Thursday by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Monetary Board to further keep policy settings steady since September 2014 despite the US Federal Reserve’s quarter-of-a-point hike last week -- its second such increase since December. The BSP has constantly signalled that it did not have to promptly take cue from its US counterpart in the face of robust economic growth and rising but on-target inflation, although private economists expect up to two increases locally later this year.

PSE investors then, said analysts, looked to Wall Street for cues.

Major Asian markets largely strengthened even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite index slid 0.02%, 0.11% and 0.07%, respectively.

The Nikkei 225, Tokyo’s TOPIX Index, the Hang Seng Index and the Shanghai-Shenzhen CSI 300 Index edged up 0.93%, 0.88%, 0.13% and 0.8%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific rose 0.8% and 0.19%, respectively.

“Investors risk-off sentiment today was driven by concern of (US President Donald J.) Trump[‘s] economic agenda after (his) health-care vote [in the House of Representatives] was delayed,” Joylin F. Telagen, equity research analyst at IB Gimenez Securities in a text message on Friday.

Victor F. Felix, equity analyst at AB Capital Securities, Inc. explained in a telephone interview that “[b]asically, the picture is if the delay in the health-care bill continues, they might hold off the other plans of Trump like the comprehensive tax reform or the fiscal spending policies.”

The six PSEi sectoral indices were equally divided between gainers and losers.

Services increased by 11.5 points or 0.77% to finish 1,502.11, mining and oil rose 61.18 points or 0.51% to close 12,006.88, while holding firms added 25.52 points or 0.35% to end 7,403.28.

Property lost 47.40 points or 1.47% to close 3,169.61, industrial firms gave up 91.72 points or 0.84% to end 10,870.80, while financials dropped 15.12 points or 0.83% to finish 1,815.40.

Losers trumped advancers, 98 to 89, while 51 issues were unchanged.

Stocks that gained were led by SM Investments Corp. that increased by 1.22% to P666 apiece; International Container Terminal Services, Inc. which rose by 0.57% to P87.50; Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. that added 0.65% to P77.50; Manila Water, Inc. that surged by 1.49% to P30.75 and LT Group, Inc. which jumped 3.35% to P15.42 each.

Those that lost were led by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. that gave up 1.31% to finish P6.03 apiece; DMCI Holdings, Inc. which declined by 1.03% to P11.50; SM Prime Holdings, Inc. that dropped 1.06% to P28; Universal Robina Corp. that fell by 2.54% to P161 and BDO Unibank, Inc. which went down 2.04% to P120 each.

Value turnover increased by 27.92% to P7.143 billion from Thursday’s P5.584 billion, as 1.235 billion shares changed hands.

Net foreign selling jumped threefold P1.145 billion from Thursday’s P386.061 million. -- J. C. Lim