Market cautious, awaits less rigid quarantine rules

Share prices are expected to trade sideways with a positive momentum during this shortened trading week as the government considers further relaxation of quarantine measures.

Majority of Metro Manila mayors last week voted in favor of placing the National Capital Regional under the more relaxed status of modified general community quarantine.

Analysts said the move would further open up the economy as Metro Manila had been under the stricter general community quarantine status since June last year.

But concerns about the delay in the arrival of vaccines are dampening investors’ confidence.

“While authorities have reassured that statutory requirements are being addressed and the delay will be ironed out, delays impair public confidence,” research team from online brokerage firm said.

“We maintain that market sentiment ultimately longs for vaccine rollouts; and so long as the national vaccination program remains trailing its peers in the region, valuations may likely on hibernation mode,” it added.

Analysts see the immediate support of the benchmark index at 6,850 and the resistance at 7,050 to 7,100.

Investors are still worried about rising inflation rate due to surging global oil prices.

Positive earnings report and the outlook for 2021, meanwhile, could also provide investors insights on how corporate would recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange Index last week closed at 6,926, down 64 points, or 0.92 percent, week-on-week due to delays in the arrival of much needed COVID-19 vaccines.

Most sectors ended in red led by property which declined 3 percent, and services which dropped 1.4 percent. Mining and oil rose 3.1 percent percent while financial added 1 percent.

The average daily value improved to P15.07 billion, up 21 percent from the previous week’s average.

Overseas investors were net sellers for the week with an average foreign selling of P570 million.

The financial markets will be closed on Thursday for a national holiday to commemorate the EDSA revolution.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin hit a new record high on Friday and surpassed $1 trillion in market capitalization, while European and US equities were mixed as optimism over coronavirus vaccines and stimulus competed with inflation fears.

The digital unit zoomed to another record at around $56,000, meaning the combined value of all bitcoin now stands above one trillion dollars, according to data provider

Oil prices sank, as some companies began slowly restarting operations in the US producer state of Texas, where refineries have been hammered by a cold snap.

Meanwhile, data showed that the eurozone’s economy is being hit hard by a new wave of lockdowns but the damage will be less severe than last year’s virus-induced crash.

The closely watched PMI index compiled by IHS Markit rose to 48.1 points in February from 47.8 points in January, closer to the 50-point level which would have indicated growth.

Both Frankfurt and Paris added 0.8 percent, as investors digested upbeat German and French manufacturing figures.

In Britain, London stocks stayed in positive territory even though the pound rose above $1.40 for the first time in almost three years and retail sales dropped sharply in January as the country entered another lockdown. With AFP

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