‘Steady decline’ in COVID-19 cases pacifies PSEi

The stock barometer inched up on Thursday as investors took comfort from the recent decline in local daily COVID-19 cases even as the government’s extension of tough lockdown protocols are seen to temper prospects for economic rebound.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) added 18.37 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 6,487.51 in thin trade, tracking mostly firmer markets across the region.

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“The PSEi inched higher despite starting the day much weaker. The steady decline in the daily average of new COVID-19 cases has generated some optimism among investors,” said Christopher Mangun, head of research at AAA Equities.

While President Duterte announced the extension of current quarantine restrictions in the National Capital Region and surrounding areas for the next two weeks, Mangun said this at least quashed fears of moving toward tighter constraints.

Lack of interest

Meanwhile, Mangun noted that trading volumes remained low, indicating lack of investor interest due to uncertainties and the lack of justification for high stocks valuations.

“Expectations of dismal first quarter economic data, which is set to be released in the following week, is keeping the sentiment subdued. The market’s trend is still sideways, which we expect to continue in the coming weeks,” he added.

The mining/oil counter outperformed the market, rising by 2.73 percent as the regulatory environment has turned more favorable for this space.

The financial, industrial, services and property counters all rose by less than 1 percent.

On the other hand, the holding firm counter dipped by 0.24 percent.

Value turnover for the day was meager at P4.73 billion. Net foreign selling amounted to P394.38 million.

There were 107 advancers that edged out 92 decliners, while 45 stocks were unchanged.

The PSEi was led higher by JG Summit, which advanced by 3.48 percent, while AEV added 2.55 percent after announcing a 276-percent year-on-year rebound in first quarter net profit. —DORIS DUMLAO ABADILLA

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