Shares down on profit-taking

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    Share prices ended lower Wednesday as investors took to profit taking ahead of the release of the Philippines’ economic data for 2020.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index was down 113.55 points to 6,683.61, a 1.63 percent drop.

    The broader all shares index was down 37.64 points to 4,131.32, a 0.9 percent drop.

    Gainers edged losers 112 to 101 with 50 stocks unchanged. Trading turnover reached P10.68 billion.

    The peso closed at 48.075 to the dollar, up from 48.08 on Tuesday.

    The currency opened at 48.06 and hit a high of 48.055 and a low of 48.095. Trading turnover reached $1.12 billion.

    Japhet Tantiangco, analyst at Philstocks Financial Corp., said the market’s huge decline was on the back of “pandemic concerns that continued to cloud investor sentiment.”

    “This comes amid the threat of the new and more infective COVID-19 (new coronavirus disease 2019) variant from the UK which has already been detected in the country with 17 cases already confirmed so far,” Tantiangco said said.

    Foreign funds were net sellers worth P1.37 billion.

    Reuters reported the decline was also a result of the weak export data raised which concerns about the country’s fragile economic recovery. The government is due to release the 2020 preliminary GDP result today.

    Exports dipped 0.2 percent in December and imports fell sharply, resulting in the widest monthly trade deficit since March.

    Currencies in the region traded flat to slightly higher as investors eyed Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s news conference later in the day after the central bank concludes a two-day policy meeting. Analysts expect the Fed to stick to its ultra-easy monetary policy.

    The South Korean won edged 0.2 percent higher and the ringgit firmed 0.1 percent.

    Basic Energy Corp. was up P0.37 to P1.11. SM Prime Holdings Corp. was down P0.90 to P36.80. SM Investments Corp. was up P9 to P1,029. Dito CME Holdings Corp. was up P0.74 to P11.76. Ayala Land Inc. was down P1.20 to P38.80. BDO Unibank Inc. was down P3.50 to P104.50. MerryMart Consumer Corp. was up P0.17 to P7.06.