November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Local stocks decline amid lack of fresh catalysts

THE STOCK MARKET failed to sustain gains posted in the last two trading sessions on Tuesday, signaling weakness in the absence of any positive drivers.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 0.41% or 32.56 points to 7,833.96 points yesterday.

The broader all-shares index also fell 0.17% or 8.11 points to 4,696.90 points.

“The numbers presented above are just a handful of a growing body of objective evidence pointing to and raising concerns over a developing weakness in the market. At best, we could be matching the character of 2015 trades,” read the market recap of Philstocks Financial, Inc. on Tuesday.

Harry G. Liu, president of Summit Securities, Inc., said the market continues to test both resistance and support levels and will need more catalysts to bring the PSEi back to 8,000.

“In the long term, it is still going through consolidation while waiting for a catalyst to push to the 8,000 level,” Mr. Liu said in a phone interview on Tuesday, noting that the prolonged crisis in Marawi may be contributing to present uncertainties.

“[I]t has been our familiar refrain that the markets needs a fresh and positive catalyst to push prices higher and past existing records,” Philstocks said.

“The overall consensus outlook for the Philippine economy continues to be robust. Forecast numbers still positions us to be among the fastest in terms of growth. This alone could be an overriding reason for the sustained attractiveness of Philippine risk assets,” the report added.

Only two sectors posted gains on Tuesday. Services rose 0.38% or 6.44 points to 1,687.95 and industrials inched up 0.06% or 7.13 points to 11,045.19.

On the other hand, property dropped 0.67% or 24.8 points to 3,629.85; mining and oil declined 0.52% or 66.71 points to 12,639.56; financials slid 0.44% or 8.61 points to 1,937.32; and holding firms went down 0.32% or 25.7 points to close the session at 7,851.85.

Value turnover reached P4.74 billion, slightly lower than the P4.89 billion on Monday, with 1.53 billion shares changing hands.

Foreigners dumped their shareholdings yesterday with net selling logged at P508.48 million, a turnaround from the net purchases of P268.27 million seen the prior session.

Advancers outnumbered losers at 109 to 94, while 41 issues were unchanged.

Other Southeast Asian stocks slipped on Tuesday as risk appetite took a hit after North Korea test-launched a ballistic missile.

The launch of the missile, which landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, came days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations are due to discuss steps to rein in Pyongyang’s weapons programs.

The Jakarta Composite Index led the losses in the region, falling 0.6%.

Meanwhile, Singapore inched down 0.4% and Vietnam shares fell 0.5%. -- Janina C. Lim with Reuters