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Covid back on radar, market reverses path

Philippine Stock Exchange index weakened 77.56 points to 7,200.88 on 152,817 shares



Covid-19 is back in the picture as wary travelers walk out of the arrivals hall at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Two people in the capital Ottawa have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron variant. / Zou Zheng/Xinhua

A global shift away from risk assets has been triggered by the new Covid-19 variant called Omicron found in South Africa resulting to the plunge in stock prices to end the month of November.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) weakened 77.56 points to 7,200.88 on 152,817 shares traded valued at P27.718 billion.

Heading into the week, Covid-19 developments are expected to rule the market once again in light of the Omicron variant, Regina Capital Development Corp. (RCDC) managing director Luis Limlingan said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has this morning released an update on what we know and don’t know about Omicron.

The week started well with investors being optimistic about the booster shot roll-out. However, concerns about the new Covid-19 variant called Omicron made investors more cautious towards the end of the week.

The average year to date return of Stock Index Funds, which mirror the PSEi, currently stands at 2.41 percent, COL Financial said.

Foreign investors recorded a net selling of P700 million last week due to news of a new Covid-19 variant spreading that may impact the region, according to the market research firm.

Mixed movements were observed last week as investors weighed the reopening prospects.

“Mining and Oil led the pack followed by Financial and Holding Firms while of the rest sectors had small losses,” COL Financial noted.

Savants scramble
Scientists are urgently trying to learn more about the B.1.1.529 strain of coronavirus which has already spurred international travel bans. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 905.04 points, or down 2.53 percent, for its worst day of the year, closing at 34,899.34.

The S&P 500 lost 2.27 percent lower to close at 4,594.62, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 2.23 percent to finish at 15,491.66. The Dow was down more than 1,000 points at session lows.

Oil prices dropped, tumbling to their lowest level in more than two months.

US West Texas Intermediate settled falling 13.06 percent at $68.15 per barrel, falling below the key $70 level. Brent crude futures decreased 11.55 percent to settle at $72.72 per barrel.