Shares inch up as investors assess updates on COVID-19

Philippine shares inched up on Friday as investors tried to figure out how to position themselves following developments in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in the country.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up by 9.37 points or 0.13% to close at 6,728.55, while the all shares index went up by 9.15 points or 0.22% to 4,059.58.

“The market ended marginally up [on Friday] as the investors grappled on how to best position themselves in light of current information,” PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said in a text message.

“Reports of increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases and the resultant call for renewed curfews signalled many investors to move to the sidelines. Confidence was slightly buoyed by government pronouncements that the economy will be reopened,” Mr. Lisbona added.

COVID-19 cases in the country have been surging in the past weeks, with over 2,000 new infections reported daily. An 11.4% positivity rate was recorded on Wednesday, March 10, the highest infection rate the country reported since August 2020.

Metro Manila mayors have imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in an attempt to curb the spread of the disease. It will be implemented starting on Monday, March 15, and will last for two weeks.

“Plus, the fact that there’s a fear of inflation and that the interest rate may slightly go up,” Summit Securities, Inc. President Harry G. Liu said in a phone interview.

The sectoral indices were split on Friday. Holding firms increased by 27.64 points or 0.39% to finish at 6,948.59; industrials improved by 22.13 points or 0.25% to end at 8,589.96; and property inched up by 3.04 points or 0.09% to 3,380.

Meanwhile, mining and oil declined by 56.63 points or 0.64% to 8,761.45; financials decreased by 4.39 points or 0.31% to close at 1,410.28; and services went down by 2.02 points or 0.13% to 1,456.22.

Value turnover went down to P6.87 billion on Friday with 3.41 billion shares switching hands, from the P8.58 billion with 5.05 billion issues traded on Thursday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 108 against 99, while 60 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling declined to P602.86 million on Friday from the P808.82 million seen on Thursday.

“What would be the prime fundamental, I suppose here in the Philippines [is an] improvement of [COVID-19 cases] and that the vaccination increases, [then] there is a chance that we would be rolling upward,” Mr. Liu said.

PNB Securities’ Mr. Lisbona said he expects the market support at 6,612, with a possibility of retesting the 6,500 level, and placed its resistance at 7,000.

“I think the market will consolidate but if it should trend, it will be downward barring any surprises over the weekend,” Mr. Lisbona said. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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