November 21, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Investors await GDP data

STOCKS moved sideways on Friday as consolidation continued ahead of the release of first-quarter economic data next week and telecommunication earnings weighed on market sentiment.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) slipped 0.87 of a point or 0.01% to close 7,815.53, while the broader all-shares index slipped 8.62 points or 0.19% to end 4,648.26.

Only two of the six sectoral indices bared gains.

“Market continued to consolidate... heading to the support level of 7,650-7,700. These past few days, the market is just moving sideways waiting for more developments,” Summit Securities, Inc. President Harry G. Liu said in a telephone on Friday.

“Generally, we still see consolidation as investors are on a wait-and-see stance for the release of GDP numbers. Initial statements point to positive numbers,” he added, referring to a seven percent estimate of Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia for first-quarter growth that will be reported on May 18.

Regina Capital Development Corp. President Marita A. Limlingan for her part said “initially, the telco sector pulled the market down because of poor earnings.”

Index heavyweight PLDT, Inc. reported on Friday that its consolidated net income dropped by a fifth annually to P4.969 billion last quarter and that profit attributable to its equity holders similarly fell to P4.951 billion as service revenues weakened. PLDT, Inc., which initially lost as much as four percent during trading, managed to end Friday up 1.92% to P1,755 each as it signalled that it could return to growth by next semester.

Local equities also seemed to be tracking Wall Street, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average ceded 0.11%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices each lost 0.22%.

Others in Asia were mixed, with the Nikkei 225 and Topix (Tokyo) indices each losing 0.39%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 falling by 0.70%, while the Hang Seng, Shanghai-Shenzhen’s CSI 300 and MSCI AC Asia Pacific gaining 0.12%, 0.86% and 0.46%, respectively.

Four out of the six sectoral indices at home ended in the negative territory, with industrial losing 87.38 points or 0.78% to 11,113.76, mining and oil dropping 82.85 points or 0.65% to 12,597.69, property falling 32.79 points or 0.92% to 3,525.67 and holding firms declining 17.09 points or 0.22% to 7,900.80.

Only two indices gained: services increased by 23.93 points or 1.47% to 1,649.08 while financials added 16.18 points or 0.85% 1,926.49.

Stocks that lost were led by Universal Robina Corp. that dropped 2.99% to P162.50 apiece; Ayala Land, Inc. that yielded 1.02% to P39 and SM Investments Corp. that slipped by 0.39% to P770 each.

Besides PLDT, those that gained were led by GT Capital Holdings, Inc. that added 0.16% to P1,256 each, Nickel Asia Corp. that increased by 0.83% to P6.05 and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. that surged by 3.36% to P96.80 apiece.

Friday saw decliners trump advancers, 124 to 81, while 33 stocks were unchanged.

Investors traded 2.825 billion issues worth P8.954 billion on Friday, compared to Thursday’s 3.924 billion worth P15.588 billion.

Foreigners turned bearish, causing their trades to end the day with P427.704 million in net selling from Thursday’s P1.284-billion net buying. -- ICCD