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Stocks slip on lack of positive catalysts

Stocks slip on lack of positive catalysts

MANILA, Philippines —  Investors yesterday cashed in on the stock market’s two-day run-up as the lack of positive catalysts and a still cautious sentiment weighed on shares.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index slipped 46.41 points or 0.64 percent to close at 7,261.34 after rallying for two consecutive days.

Despite the shortened trading hours, total value turnover reached P5.79 billion.  Market breadth was negative with 97 losers to 77 gainers, while 53 issues were unchanged.

The PSE reverted to a half-day trading schedule starting yesterday  “in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.”

The shortened trading hours will be in effect until Jan. 31, 2022.

“Market retreated from resistance as lack of market moving news triggers profit-taking,” AB Capital Securities said in a note.

Investors were also becoming more cautious as the World Bank said the highly contagious Omicron variant could weigh on the Philippine economy.

It said that while the economy could return to pre-pandemic level this year, the emergence of new variants of the COVID-19 could cloud the outlook.

The Omicron variant, it said, could affect international tourism and thus affect the economy.

Around Asia, shares took a beating yesterday after a fresh salvo of hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials solidified expectations that US interest rates could rise as soon as March, leaving markets braced for tighter monetary conditions.

Fed Governor Lael Brainard became the latest and most senior US central banker on Thursday to signal that rates will rise in March to combat inflation.

“Everyone is really nervous right now. It’s because everything is potentially going to come under pressure from aggressive Fed policy,” said Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG in Melbourne.