Last week, INVESTORS chose to pocket profits, dragging back the share price of Universal Robina Corp. (URC) after its declaration of its foray into the manufacture of rubbing alcohol.

From Nov. 23-27, a total of 11.35 million shares worth P1.64 billion were exchanged, putting URC as the 13th most traded issue, Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) data shows.

On Friday, the Gokongwei-led food firm closed at P142 apiece, dipping by six percent from its closing price of P151 each on Nov. 20. The stock has risen by 0.5 percent since the beginning of the year .

“In a Viber post, Darren T. Pangan, trader at Timson Securities, Inc., said, “URC’s step downward [last week might have largely been sentiment-driven, as investors decided to take profits off the table after the overall market’s upward move over the past few weeks.

Regina Capital Development Corp. stock analyst Anna Correne M. Agravio said in an e-mail, “The downward movement we saw from URC [last week was more a result of investor sentiment as a whole rather than anything unique to the dynamics of the firm.”

On Tuesday, URC revealed it is trying to diversify its commodity range to include two brands of pharmacy grade alcohol: Shield+ and Biosure.

This rubbing alcohol line will be managed and provided by its distillery in La Carlota, Negros Occidental, by the agro-industrial and commodities division of URC.

As of this month, the Biosure brand is already being offered, while Shield+ will begin delivery in December.

As the coronavirus pandemic has increased demand for these goods, this initiative is good for the company, Ms. Agravio said. This growth, however,’ hardly dented the overall correction of the market from its preceding highs.’

For the first nine months, URC’s attributable net profits grew by 7.2 percent to P7.50 billion from P7.27 billion last year.

URC is among the few sectors that have been least impacted in terms of the harmful benefit shocks induced by the pandemic, Ms. Agravio said.

“We should infer from this narrative that the growth of URC will be maintained over the next one or two years, with demand for its goods staying steady enough to maintain at least single-digit net revenue growth,” she said.

“In the coming months, when we move through the current COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) scenario, we will have to watch how market expenditure on basic food and beverages plays out,” Mr. Pangan said.

He set the immediate price level of support for URC at P140 each, whereas the level of resistance is seen at P155 each.

“We’re going to have to see if P140 keeps [this week, otherwise, his next support area is at P130,” Mr. Pangan said.

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