Stocks down on profit-taking

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    Share prices ended lower Monday as investors took to profit-taking.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index was down 35.02 points to 7,203.44, a 0.48 percent drop.

    The broader all shares index was down 21.18 points to 4,321.30, a 0.49 percent drop.

    Losers edged gainers 137 to 95 with 43 stocks unchanged. Trading turnover reached P10.38 billion.

    The peso closed at 48.075 to the dollar, down from 48.065 on Friday.

    The currency opened at 48.08, an intraday low and hit a high of 48.055. Trading turnover reached $418.7 million.

    SB Equities Inc. said small cap stocks dominated Monday’s trading as most investors opted to take profit as they weighed “growing local coronavirus infections and disappointing news on US consumer sentiment against positive China’s fourth quarter and 2020 GDP growth data.”

    Japhet Tantiangco, analyst at Philstocks Financial Corp., said there is also a lack of strong positive catalyst.

    Reuters reported trading across other emerging Asian stocks markets remained subdued “despite a better-than-expected economic reading from China, the region’s largest trade partner, as weaker US retail sales and rising global coronavirus cases kept investors cautious.”

    The PSEi dropped as much as 1.1 percent and the peso dipped after the Philippines, which has among the greatest number of coronavirus cases in Asia, extended a ban on travellers from more than 30 countries after it recorded its first case of a highly contagious COVID-19 new variant that was first found in Britain last week.

    “Despite approvals for securing vaccines, it appears that there is much apprehension about the choice of vaccine, not to mention general distrust among the population. Without a vaccine, the economy is expected to struggle given reliance on household spending to drive growth,” said a Manila-based analyst at a global financial firm, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter.

    In currency markets, the South Korean won and the Indonesian rupiah led declines as weaker US economic data lifted the greenback’s appeal.

    Malaysian shares dropped 1.1 percent, with banking stocks accounting for a major chunk of the losses. The ringgit weakened 0.3 percent, tracking a drop in crude prices, one of Malaysia’s top exports.

    Mizuho Bank analysts expect Malaysia’s central bank to cut its key policy rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday, bringing it to 1.50 percent, as the recently announced state of emergency and movement restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 is expected to weigh on growth outlook.

    Foreigners funds were net sellers worth P509.91 million.

    Most actively traded Basic Energy Corp. was up P0.43 to P1.86. Abra Mining and Industrial Corp. was up P0.0025 to P0.0076. Apollo Global Capital Inc. was up P0.005 to P0.305.

    MerryMart Consumer Corp. was up P0.20 to P7.80. SM Investments Corp. was down P1 to P1,050. Dito CME Holdings Corp. was down P0.18 to P11.90. Transpacific Broadband Group International Inc. was down P0.04 to P0.51. Ayala Land Inc. was down P0.50 P39.65. SM Prime Holdings Inc. was down P0.20 to P39.20. Premier Horizon Alliance Corp. was down P0.02 to P2.86.