Stocks climb as metro kept under strict lockdown

PHILIPPINE shares closed in the green on Tuesday after the government decided to keep Metro Manila under strict lockdown measures due to the continued rise in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went up by 36.68 points or 0.53% on Wednesday to close at 6,949.39, while the broader all shares index rose 10.53 points or 0.24% to end at 4,286.29.

“With the extension of MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) in NCR (National Capital Region), market continued to go [up] as investors expect to better contain the increasing infection rates as it peaks prior to its downtrend on the third week of this month per OCTA [Research Group],” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message.

Presidential spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said on Tuesday that Metro Manila will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine until Sept. 15.

The government had previously announced that the country’s capital will be under the least restrictive quarantine classification until the end of the month as it plans to implement targeted lockdowns to boost economic activity.

The Health department logged 18,012 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections on Tuesday. This brought the country’s tally to over 2.12 million, with 158,637 active cases.

The Health department said it expects cases to peak in the middle of the month.

“The market right now is on a slow uptrend, but [there are] not enough fundamentals to rally it up because of this pandemic,” Summit Securities, Inc. President Harry G. Liu said in a phone call.

Most sectoral indices closed in the green except for mining and oil, which lost 29.85 points or 0.30% to finish at 9,626.11.

Meanwhile, services climbed 21.28 points or 1.19% to 1,802.21; holding firms went up by 43.35 points or 0.62% to 7,033.20; property rose 15.77 points or 0.51% to 3,102.48; industrials gained 3.29 points or 0.03% to 10,128.57; and financials inched up by 0.44 point or 0.03% to 1,448.53.

Value turnover increased to P5.87 billion with 742.74 billion issues traded on Wednesday, from the P5.4 billion with 1.96 billion shares on Tuesday.

Advancers beat decliners, 90 against 84, as 61 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers on Wednesday, logging P49.55 million in net outflows from the P108.85 million in net purchases seen on Tuesday.

Mr. Liu said he expects selling pressure today if US markets close in the red overnight.

Meanwhile, Asian shares snapped eight successive sessions of gains on Wednesday, as fresh worries about slowing global growth prompted investors to reduce their exposure to riskier assets in a boost to safe havens such as the US dollar, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.50% having stretched its gains in the past eight sessions. — K.C.G. Valmonte with Reuters