Index plunges as Omicron rattles market

Iris Gonzales – The Philippine Star

December 2, 2021 | 12:00am


MANILA, Philippines — The local stock market slumped anew yesterday, falling below the 7,000 mark, as investors grapple with uncertainties surrounding COVID-19’s Omicron variant and the persistently high inflation threats in the US.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) tumbled 253.82 points or 3.52 percent to close at 6,947.06, its lowest since Oct. 8 and its sharpest decline since Aug. 13.

The broader All Shares index finished at 3,734.38, down 103.75 points or 2.70 percent.

All sub-sectors finished in the red, with property, services and holding firms among the biggest decliners. The drop was broad-based with 165 losers against 40 gainers, while 42 stocks were unchanged.

Traders attributed the sharp decline of the market yesterday to renewed COVID-19 fears, particularly over the Omicron variant.

“The local index fell below key support at 7,000 as more cases of the new Omicron variant are detected in more countries and governments put international travel restrictions back in place to contain the spread,” AB Capital Securities said in a commentary.

The government likewise pushed back the plan to allow fully vaccinated tourists into the country, which was supposed to take effect yesterday, it added.

RCBC Securities said the broad declines in US equities also affected sentiment in the local market.

“Following the broad declines in US equities on virus worries and the Fed’s plan to speed up its bond-buying taper, the local market broke below its 7,000 support,” it said.

Around Asia, shares were mixed amid nervous trading due to worries over the newest coronavirus variant.

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