"Real estate, financial shares drag Philippine market"
BANGKOK, February 19 -- Philippine stocks fell the most on Tuesday dragged by losses in the real estate and financial stocks, as most of the Southeast Asian equity markets ended lower, while Malaysia gained as investors took positions amid the earnings season.
The Philippine index dropped about 1% to its lowest level since Jan 8, dragged by losses in real estate and financial stocks. "The Philippine market right now is in search of a new catalyst and with none in sight, some investors are already choosing to take profit," said Rachelle Cruz, an analyst with AP Securities. BDO Unibank Inc shed 3.2%, while Ayala Land Inc dropped 3.7% to close at its lowest level since Jan 3. "Ayala Corp has $293 million worth of bonds that are exchangeable to shares of ALI and that will mature by that time (in May). Some investors may look to cash in, exerting a downward pressure on ALI's share price," a note from RCBC securities said.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian index gained 0.8% to a three-month closing high on the back of materials and utilities. Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd rose 3.9% ahead of its fourth quarter result announcement. Shares of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd strengthened more than 1%, after posting a jump in quarterly net profit.
Real estate stocks drove the Vietnam index marginally higher, with Vinhomes JSC and Vingroup JSC rising 6.1% and 2%, respectively. Singapore and Indonesia indexes traded relatively lower.