Most Southeast Asian stock markets were flat to lower on Friday, with the Philippines declining for a third time this week on profit-taking, while Indonesia posted its biggest intraday percentage gain in three weeks. Asian stocks slipped, tracking Wall Street which was dragged down by a selloff in shares of department stores. Philippine stocks fell as much as 1.1 percent to their lowest in over a week, with real estate stocks declining the most.
“The Philippine market has run up significantly in the past few days, so many investors are cashing in on gains. Investors are taking advantage of the fact that some companies are trading near record levels,” said Lexter Azurin, AVP – senior analyst at AB Capital Securities. “When we look at the valuations for the market on a PE (price-earnings) basis, we are close to trading at 19 times based on 2017 estimates and we’re quite expensive compared to regional counterparts.” Philippine shares had gained 13.1 percent this year as of Thursday’s close.
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Singapore shares dropped as much as 0.4 percent with financials such as United Overseas Bank and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp leading the losses. Noble Group shares slumped more than 30 percent, after shedding 33 percent in the previous session. The Singapore-listed commodity trader reported a quarterly loss on Thursday, stoking worries that it was failing to recover from a crisis-wracked two years. Founder Richard Elman stepped down from the role of executive chairman.
Indonesian shares gained as much as 0.8 percent on resumption of trade following a holiday on Thursday and were on track to snap two straight sessions of losses. Financial stocks such as PT Bank Mitraniaga Tbk and PT Multi Indocitra Tbk led the gains on Friday. Indonesia’s retail sales in March grew 4.2 percent from a year earlier, a faster pace than in February, a survey by Bank Indonesia showed on Wednesday. A survey of 700 retailers in 10 major cities predicted that April’s annual retail sales growth would be 5.4 percent.