LOCAL stocks ended on a positive note on Friday, capping a wild week that saw the equities market reel from the continuous spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

The 30 member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) increased by 1% or 57.67 points to 5,793.94 while the broader all shares index went up by 0.03% or 0.87 points to 3,493.64.

In a text message, Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar credits the increase to bargain-hunting and support from the government.

She said the instruction of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Domínguez III to state benefits and retirement funds Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Social Security System (SSS) “to take advantage of the stocks’ bargain prices lifted investor sentiment, pushing them to pick up more stocks which seen in the strong value turnover of P10.71 billion — the second highest value turnover for this year.”

Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading and Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan added that investors may have reacted positively on reports that the GSIS and SSS were urged to purchase more shares as the market was going down.

However, during the day, the market went down as low as 5,097.9. It prompted the PSE’s 10% circuit breaker and started a 15 minute cool off.

“The 6.51% decline at the opening was the widest since September 18, 1998’s 7.46% drop,” Ms. Alviar said.

In a text message, PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said he saw the break as vital in giving the investors time to recover.

“Investors did take the break to regain some sort of composure and digest some of the latest developments which prompted them to reassess their trades. News of central banks’ increases in liquidity as well as economic support measures from international governments provided much needed comfort,” Mr. Lisbona said.

Among the indices, the mining and oil index had the biggest decline at 4.72% or 233.94 points to 4,727.81, followed by property going down by 2.5% or 76.46 points to 2,985.4 and industrials shrinking by 0.65% or 46.07 points to 7,071.11.

Meanwhile, financials increased by 3.79% or 51.65 points to 1,415.66, holding firms went up by 1.3% or 72.75 points to 5,673.65, and services went higher by 3.42% or 39.3 points to 1,187.61.

Mr. Pangan said that market breadth remained negative as investors focused on hunting bargain blue chips.

Decliners outpaced advancers with 139 and 87, respectively, while 36 remained unchanged. Net foreign selling was at P1.6 billion. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave