The Philippine Stock Exchange benchmark dropped as investors cashed out amid rising COVID-19 cases and ahead of the Lenten break.

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The main index lost 62.23 points or 0.94 percent to close at 6,545.55 with only the Industrial counter managed ng to advance.

Volume fell to 1.5 billion shares worth P4.7 billion as losers edged out gainers 104 to 103 with 46 unchanged.

“Philippine shares closed lower as early window dressing began coupled with the long holidays as investors opted to keep in cash in the meantime,” said Regina Capital Development Corporation Managing Director Luis Limlingan.

He added that, “Sentiment also spilled over as US stocks dropped yesterday from record highs after seeing banks liquidate billions-worth of their position.”

Philstocks Financial Senior Analyst Japhet Tantiangco said “The local market fell on the back of pandemic worries. This comes as COVID-19 cases continue to surge with Monday’s daily additional counts posting a record high of 10,016.”

He noted that, “The re-tightening of restrictions in other areas in the Philippines for April also weighed on sentiment as these are seen to further limit the productive capacity of our economy which in turn may delay its recovery.”

Tantiangco said “The rise in our unemployment rate to 8.8 percent  in February 2021 also added to economic concerns which in turn weighed on the market. “

“The PSEi took a step back and ended lower as traders took profits from the minor rally in the previous session,” said AAA Equities Head of Research Chris Mangun.

He said “The general sentiment remains cautious amid the uncertainty on the extension of stricter quarantine on the country’s capital” and volume was “way lower than the average due to the uncertain environment.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (