Stocks drop, peso up

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    Share prices ended lower amid heightened risk aversion, buffered by late-session buying.

    The Philippine Stock exchange index was down 38.08 points to 7,848.83, a 0.48 percent drop.

    The broader all shares index was down 25.93 points to 4,757.15, a 0.54 percent drop.

    Losers edged gainers 129 to 75 with 44 stocks unchanged. Trading turnover reached P9.92 billion. Foreign funds were net sellers of P435.01 million.

    The peso closed at 52.255 to the dollar, up compared to Monday’s 52.29 close.

    The currency opened at 52.25, hit a high of 52.17 and a low of 52.32. Trading turnover reached $1.27 billion.

    “It was a sour day for the index as it fell by as much as 131 points early on in the day, before being bought up at the close,” said Gabriel Jose Perez, trader at Papa Securities Corp.

    Luis Limlingan, managing director at Regina Capital Development Corp., said the market was “sold down heavily, with fear that the lucrative POGO (Philippine offshore gaming operator) clients of property developers would potentially pull out.”

    “China is now urging the Philippine government to ban all of the country’s online gaming operations as it commended PAGCOR’s (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) move to impose a moratorium on the issuance of POGO licenses.  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang expressed hope that Pagcor’s move would eventually result in the strengthened cooperation between China and the Philippines in outlawing online gambling. The Chinese Embassy earlier released a statement that expressed concern over the illegal recruitment of Chinese citizens to the gambling industry, with some only working under tourist visas,” Limlingan said.

    He added investors were also digesting the data in the recently-released minutes of the US Fed meeting.

    “There were also mixed views from the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) minutes, and some concerns when Powell speaks later at Jackson Hole. Fed minutes showed FOMC officials argued over whether to lower rates and by how much at last month’s meeting, minutes showed. Overall, the committee viewed the quarter-point cut as insurance against too-low inflation and falling business investment. But two members voted against the move and ‘a couple’ of participants sought a half-point reduction,” said Limlingan.

    Most actively traded Ayala Land Inc. was down P0.35 to P49.15. Megaworld Corp. was down P0.45 to P4.83. Kepwealth Properties Philippines Inc. was up P6.10 to P18.32. SM Investments Corp. was down P10 to P1,000. SM Prime Holdings Inc. was down P0.70 to P35. Ayala Corp. was down P15.50 to P938. BDO Unibank Inc. was up P2 to P147.

    Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. was up P0.50 to P71.65. PLDT Inc. was up P25 to P1,130. Alliance Global Group Inc. was down P0.40 to P12.80.