Aug 072013

MANILA, Philippines – Lackluster trading marked the start of the traditional Chinese ghost season, with the main share index barely changing from Tuesday’s close.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) was nearly unchanged at 6,420.79, up by just 0.01 point. The broader all shares index inched up 0.03 percent or 1.28 points to 3,923.56.

“There is really nothing to drive the market. There is a dearth of news and the interest is not there,” said Astro del Castillo, managing director of First Grade Finance Inc.

“August is called ghost month after all given the lackluster trades of the market,” Del Castillo said. Considered unlucky by Chinese, investors hold off from major investment decisions while Western fund managers take advantage of low turnover to enjoy vacation.

The bellwether index erased early gains that allowed it to hit an intraday high of 6,450.41.

Local shares were immovable, bucking large decline in Asian markets, led by Japanese stocks that suffered from a stronger yen that hurts the export sector.

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Japan’s Nikkei 225 sank four percent or 576.12 points to 13,824.94 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 334.86 points to 21,588.84.

Locally, all counters were in the green, led by mining and oil that recovered 58.37 points to 14,487.01. Holding firms bucked the trend, slipping 0.78 percent or 45.93 points to 5,805.52.

Del Castillo said that even benign inflation data and good corporate earnings failed to cheer the market.

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