Shares rally as gov’t outlines vaccination plans

STOCKS ended higher on Thursday after the government laid out more details on its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination plans.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 83.99 points or 1.29% to end at 6,581 on Thursday, while the all shares index improved by 41.9 points or 1.06% to 3,976.83.

“The market has been rallying since the status of vaccine rollout and deliveries was presented,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Junior Equity Analyst Lance U. Soledad said in a Viber message on Thursday.

The Philippines has procured COVID-19 vaccines from China’ Sinovac Biotech Ltd., British firm AstraZeneca, Plc. through the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility, the United States’ Moderna, and Sputnik V from Russia.

The chief of the country’s pandemic plan, Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., also detailed the schedule of the arrival of the vaccines as well as the vaccination.

The government has received delivery of 1.125 million donated doses of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines, Reuters reported.

It plans to roll out 140.5 million shots by December, to inoculate 70 million adults as it seeks to achieve herd immunity.

Meanwhile, Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco, senior research analyst at Philstocks Financial, Inc., said the market posted gains on hopes the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas would keep policy rates unchanged at its meeting, which wrapped up after the market’s close on Thursday.

“Keeping the policy rates at accommodative levels is seen to provide support to the economy as it fights its way out of the pandemic-induced recession,” Mr. Tantiangco said in a separate Viber message.

All sectoral indices closed in the green on Thursday except for financials, which declined by 3.09 points or 0.21% to finish at 1,412.19.

Meanwhile, mining and oil rose by 225.99 points or 2.74% to 8,456.72; holding firms improved by 145.76 or 2.23% to 6,663.74; property gained 40.13 points or 1.24% to close at 3,273.53; industrials went up by 78.09 points or 0.91% to 8,571.05; and services inched up by 5.03 points or 0.34% to end at 1,445.21.

Value turnover slumped to P6.10 billion with 2.49 billion shares switching hands from P21.32 billion with 9.27 billion issues traded on Wednesday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 136 versus 62, while 50 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers, with net outflows logged at P783.51 million from the P371.67 million in net inflows seen on Wednesday.

“Value for this week has been thin averaging just P5.6 billion, which suggests that investors remain cautious amid the steep increase in daily COVID-19 cases,” AB Capital Securities’ Mr. Soledad said.

Mr. Soledad expects the benchmark index to move sideways on Friday with a resistance of 6,600, citing “lackluster trading” this week. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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