PSEi plunges to 4-month low, erases year’s gains


THE BELLWETHER INDEX  plummeted to the 6,400 level on Tuesday as investors remained cautious amid the escalating conflict in the Middle East.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell by 2.39% or 157.46 points to end at 6,404.97 on Tuesday, while the broader all shares index retreated by 1.96% or 68.26 points to close at 3,409.85.

This was the PSEi’s worst finish in more than four months or since it closed at 6,255.74 on Dec. 13, 2023.

“Philippine shares experienced the largest sell-off year to date as the market touched the 6,400 level, falling 2.4%, spurred by increased yields and heightened worries over escalating tensions in the Middle East, triggered by Iran’s airstrike on Israel last Saturday,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

“The PSEi has now wiped out most of its gains, ending the session with a year-to-date performance of -0.7%,” Mr. Limlingan said.

The index ended at 6,450.04 on Dec. 29, 2023.

Israelis awaited word on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would respond to Iran’s first-ever direct attack as international pressure for restraint grew amid fears of an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East, Reuters reported.

Mr. Netanyahu on Monday summoned his war cabinet for the second time in less than 24 hours to weigh a response to Iran’s weekend missile and drone attack, a government source said.

Military Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said Israel would respond. He provided no details.

The prospect of Israeli retaliation has alarmed many Iranians already enduring economic pain and tighter social and political controls since protests in 2022-2023.

“With Tuesday’s decline, the bourse has now dropped for nine consecutive days which has been the longest losing streak since October 2016,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research and Engagement Officer Mikhail Philippe Q. Plopenio said in a Viber message.

“The continuous sell-off was due to the increasing tensions in the Middle East and worries regarding possibly delayed rate cuts by the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) amid upside risks to inflation,” Mr. Plopenio added.

All sectoral indices ended in negative territory. Services lost 3.26% or 60.29 points to close at 1,784.33; industrials went down by 2.73% or 235.64 points to 8,367.23; holding firms declined by 2.42% or 147.12 points to 5,930.69; financials dropped by 1.64% or 32.93 points to 1,973.55; property decreased by 1.59% or 40.53 points to 2,502.24; and mining and oil retreated by 1.35% or 112.83 points to 8,198.40.

Value turnover rose to P7 billion on Tuesday with 15.82 billion issues changing hands from the P5.58 billion with 612.72 million shares traded on Monday.

Decliners overwhelmed advancers, 154 against 41, while 45 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling surged to P1.19 billion on Tuesday from P304.76 million on Monday. — RMDO with Reuters

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