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Shares improve as investors reposition ahead of holidays

PHILIPPINE SHARES ended in positive territory on Wednesday to close the shortened trading week ahead of Christmas despite the return of travel restrictions due to the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) strain.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) improved by 1.99 points or 0.02% to close at 7,204.38, while the broader all shares index rose 4.31 points or 0.1% to end at 4,294.45.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message that the market closed higher ahead of the holiday despite the return of lockdowns and travel bans due to a newly discovered COVID-19 strain.

Reuters reported that the Philippines joined the growing list of countries that have issued a ban on all flights from the United Kingdom (UK) in an effort to block the entry of the said virus.

All flights from the UK to the country are banned starting Dec. 24 until Dec. 31.

Those who have been in the UK in the last 14 days immediately preceding arrival to the Philippines, including those in transit, are also temporarily banned from entering the country in the same period.

For AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun, the local bourse ended almost unchanged after recovering from a decline earlier in the trading day.

“Selling pressure intensified at the open due to some panic selling due to the resurgence of a COVID-19 mutation as well as investors selling to raise cash for the holidays,” Mr. Mangun said in an e-mail.

Mr. Mangun said the majority of investors were quick to pick up battered shares, which pushed prices upward and deflected further sell off.

“Market breadth was positive as investors positioned on second and third liners to speculate on issues that would perform well in the upcoming quarters,” Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a mobile phone message.

Majority of sectoral indices at the PSE ended higher after Wednesday’s trading.

Services inched up 10.75 points or 0.7% to 1,526.43; mining and oil gained 49.9 points or 0.54% to 9,286.72; financials improved 6.38 points or 0.43% to 1,467.96; and industrials went up 20.55 points or 0.22% to 9,320.18.

Meanwhile, property declined 14.01 points or 0.37% to 3,694.05, while holdings firms retreated 4.37 points or 0.05% to 7,448.07.

Advancers bested decliners, 138 against 90, while 43 names ended unchanged.

Value turnover on Wednesday amounted to P6.94 billion with 29.39 billion shares switching hands, lower than the P10.09 billion with 22.72 billion issues during the previous trading session.

Net foreign selling declined to P695.96 million from P743.02 million on Tuesday.

“As the market continues to move sideways, support may be placed at the 7,000 level. Otherwise, 7,300 may be considered the nearest resistance area,” Mr. Pangan said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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