Investors wait out ghost month

Posted on August 07, 2013 09:47:17 PM

STOCKS ended flat yesterday as investors were reluctant to pour more money into the market during the “ghost month.”

The Philippine Stock Exchange index was almost unchanged, inching up just 0.01 point to close at 6,420.79, while the broader all-share index added only 1.28 points or 0.03% to close at 3,923.56.

“Investors are hesitant to go on full investment mode given the ghost month,” Maria Arlysa E. Narciso, analyst at AB Capital Securities, Inc., said, referring to the month of August.

According to Chinese belief, ghosts roam the earth every August, making it inauspicious for business.

Ms. Narciso added: “They are hesitant to put money in the market, as corporate earnings results were not really astonishing. While most of the corporate earnings increased, they were within expectations.”

Trading was thin as the stock market moved sideways yesterday. It opened in the red as investors took their cue from overseas markets.

“We opened the morning trade with a dip, which was influenced by the drop in Wall Street and regional markets,” Ms. Narciso said.

“All sectoral indices, except for holding firms, lifted the market to end almost unchanged.”

Wall Street dove yesterday after two monetary officials said the US Federal Reserve could begin tapering its $85-billion monthly bond-buying program as early as next month.

The Dow Jones industrial average index dropped 93.39 points or 0.60% to 15,518.74; the S&P 500 index shed 9.77 points or 0.57% to 1,697.37; while the Nasdaq composite index dipped 27.18 points or 0.74% to 3,665.77.

Locally, save for holding firms, all sectoral indices ended in green territory, led by property, which jumped 23.09 points or 0.94% to 2,490.05.

Mining and oil rose 58.37 points or 0.40% to 14,487.01; industrial increased 31.81 points or 0.33% to 9,616.43; services gained 1.14 points or 0.06% to 2,031.55; while financials inched up 0.32 point or 0.02% to 1,538.38.

Holding firms, on the other hand, dropped 45.93 points or 0.78% to 5,805.52.

“It seemed like despite the good news like low inflation and positive corporate earnings, local investors appeared to be tuned into a different ball game,” Astro C. del Castillo, analysts at brokerage First Grade Finance, Inc., said.

“But what can we do? This is the ghost month. Every good news is taken with a grain of salt.”

Inflation registered at 2.5% in July, its weakest in four years, the National Statistics Office said on Tuesday.

The total value of trades yesterday slid to ₱4.95 billion from ₱5.95 billion on Tuesday, not even half of the ₱10-billion daily average.

Gainers outnumbered losers, 69-49, while 51 issues were unchanged.

A daily list of the 20 most actively traded stocks showed 11 issues gained, six lost, while three were unchanged.

Leading the gainers were Ayala Land, Inc., which rose 20 centavos or 0.69% to ₱29.05 apiece; SM Prime Holdings, Inc., which jumped 34 centavos or 2.07% to ₱16.78; Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., which went up 60 centavos or 0.57% to ₱106.50; Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., which added ₱4 or 0.13% to ₱3,084; and Manila Electric Co., which went up ₱5.40 or 1.96% to ₱281.40.

Leading the losers were SM Investments Corp., which fell ₱13 or 1.51% to ₱846 apiece; Universal Robina Corp., which dropped 40 centavos or 0.33% to ₱119.60; LT Group, Inc., which slid 50 centavos or 2.35% to ₱20.80; Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., which plunged ₱1.55 or 3.23% to ₱46.50; and Manila Water Co., Inc., which dipped 15 centavos or 0.48% to ₱31.

The sideways trading is expected to persist today, with the ghost month still spooking investors.

Ms. Narciso pegged the trading range between 6,400-6,500. — Cliff Harvey C. Venzon