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Stocks inch up over news of COVID-19 vaccine arrival

Local shares closed the week on a high note after the government announced that the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines are set to arrive on Sunday, Feb. 28.

“The market may have closed higher today due to investor optimism on the country’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, which is expected to come over the weekend,” China Bank Securities Corp. Research Head Rastine Mackie D. Mercado said via email.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up by 38.91 points or 0.57% to end at 6,794.86, while the broader all shares index rose 20.14 points or 0.49% to 4,120.30.

“The local bourse gained 0.58%, lifted by late day bargain hunting, with the positive sentiment over the arrival of the Sinovac vaccine in the Philippines on Sunday,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message on Friday.

The country is set to receive its first batch of CoronaVac vaccines manufactured by China-based pharmaceutical company, Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

For Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan, the market’s uptick is due to a sudden spike in US bond yields.

“Shares in the Philippine market closed on the positive as an outsized surge in bond yields spooked investors, who rushed to dump risk assets, especially high- flying technology names,” Mr. Limlingan said in a separate Viber message.

“After the sell-off last trading day, investors [hunted] for bargains, particularly in the PSE index members. During the intraday, the market was in the red following the drop in Wall Street,” Philstocks Financial’s Ms. Alviar added.

The PSEi dipped to an intraday low of 6,681.14, while the all shares index went down to 4,058.78.

“The initial weakness today was likely due to weak market sentiment following the sell-off in global equity markets yesterday as U.S. yields spiked on investor worries about rising inflation and sooner-than-expected policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve,” China Bank’s Mr. Mercado said.

Half of the sectoral indices inched up on Friday, while the other half closed in the red.

Financials grew by 41.6 points or 2.89% to finish at 1,477.19; property increased by 72.43 points or 2.14% to 3,457.14; and services went up by 6.82 points or 0.47% to 1,453.36.

Holding firms fell by 69.57 points or 0.99% to close at 6,920; mining and oil dropped 59.77 points or 0.63% to end at 9,331.67; and industrials 17.91 points or 0.2% to 8,655.34.

Value turnover went down to P13.74 billion with 12.28 billion shares switching hands on Friday from the P14.70 billion traded on Wednesday with 36.10 billion issues.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 121 against 96, while 42 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling inched up to P972.65 million on Friday from the P652.86 million reported on Wednesday.

“We expect the PSEi to stage a recovery rally next week following the successful test of the 200-day support at 6,690, with resistance likely at 7,000 to 7,130,” Mr. Mercado said.

“Possible market-moving developments we’re looking at for the coming week include the vaccine program rollout and possible revisions in government growth targets,” he added. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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