COVID-19 vaccines delay pushes back share prices


MANILA — Delay in the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines has cause local share prices to retreat anew. They were supposed to arrive by the middle of February, state officials involved in the purchase of vaccines said the first batch of coronavirus doses would be delayed.

Stocks were earlier pushed higher because of optimism that vaccine rollouts will set the stage for an economic rev up in the second half of this year.

COVID-19 task force officials say documentary processing took a while and caused a slight delay.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed at 6,849.64, down 116.79 points or 1.67 percent.

Likewise, the broader All Shares index slipped 43.05 points or 1.02 percent to end at 4,170.48.

A total of PhP8.8 billion worth of shares changed hands, with decliners outnumbering advancers, 113 to 109, while 39 issues were unchanged.

Foreign funds were heavy sellers, with net selling positions breaching the PhP1-billion level.

“The PSEi extended losses on vaccine rollout delay. The local market stayed in the red as lawmakers still need to pass into law an indemnification program before the country can gain access to vaccines,” AB Capital Securities said in a market commentary.

In another development, the PSE said 105 of the 271 listed firms paid a total of PhP342.88 billion in cash dividends to stockholders last year, giving investors in these companies a yield of 2.5 percent. (BG/Headline PH)


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