THE MAIN INDEX marked its second consecutive day of increase yesterday, but is yet to break into the 6,400 level as investors remained cautious of the coronavirus outbreak’s economic impact.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) picked up 34.88 points or 0.55% yesterday to close at 6,353.26, while the broader all shares index gained 20.21 points or 0.53% to 3,808.73.

“While the market ended on a positive note gaining 34 points today, I don’t think we’re out of the woods just yet,” PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said in a text message on Wednesday.

“The outbreak has not yet shown any signs of slowing and the economic effects of large scale lockdowns such as that of Italy’s is yet to be observed,” he added.

The months-long spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had already led to the impairment of several business operations across the world. To others, the impact was as grave as a nationwide lockdown, like that in Italy since Monday.

While the PSEi saw some improvement yesterday, most of its regional peers still closed lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix indices fell 2.27% and 1.53%, respectively. China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 index dropped 1.33%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.63% and South Korea’s Kospi index lost 2.78%.

Wall Street roared back to life on Tuesday, rebounding from the brink of bear market confirmation as bargain-hunting and hopes of government stimulus calmed investors’ fears surrounding the coronavirus and growing signs of imminent recession.

All three major indexes jumped nearly 5% the day after equities markets suffered their biggest one-day losses since the 2008 financial crisis. Still, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq ended the session about 15% below the record closing highs reached on Feb. 19. Sinking beyond the 20% mark would confirm a bear market.

Trading at the local bourse was initially stronger, but its gains were tempered at the market’s close “as investors weighed the prospects of fiscal stimulus to curb slower economic growth,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said.

Four of six sub-sectors ended in green territory yesterday. Industrials rose 168.63 points or 2.27% to 7,598.56; holding firms added 66.24 points or 1.07% to 6,225.11; services climbed 3.59 points or 0.29% to 1,236.22; and property inched up 6.62 points or 0.19% to 3,433.39.

On the other hand, mining and oil gave up 87.89 points or 1.52% to 5,687.52, and financials slipped 15.19 points or 0.99% to 1,517.51 at the close of Wednesday’s session.

Value turnover stood at P6.62 billion with 687.59 million issues switching hands, lower from P7.36 billion with 774.46 million issues in the previous session.

Advancers beat decliners, 107 versus 84, while 48 names ended unchanged.

Foreign investors turned buyers yesterday, with net inflows of P350.50 million from a net selling of P835.86 million the previous day. — Denise A. Valdez with Reuters