By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE local market is set to come back today after a two-day shut down, and traders anticipate it to stay on the decline.

The Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) announced Tuesday night it has been allowed to reopen the market while the rest of Luzon is on lockdown. Trading resumes today on shortened hours: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Clearing and settlement at the Securities Clearing Corporation of the Philippines will also resume today.

The PSE made the mark of being the first stock market in the world to close due to the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

While it opens for trading today, the PSE trading floor will remain closed as the government maintains strict implementation of the enhanced community quarantine over Luzon island. Participants may remotely join trading activities at the PSE for the mean time.

After the main index closed at 5,335.37 on Monday — a 7.92% drop from last Friday — analysts said investors may still keep selling when the market reopens today.

“Investors may express negative sentiment… This is as equity markets around the world continue to trend downward amid escalating cases of COVID-19,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren T. Pangan said in a text message yesterday.

He added the closure of the market over the past two days “may prompt feelings of uncertainty for the local market due to the abrupt decision made regarding the financial markets in the country.”

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar thinks so too. In a text message yesterday, she said selling pressure is expected from investors today “as investor’s confidence is dented after the market closed for two days — pushing (them) to be liquid or to stay in the sidelines.”

She added the downgraded Philippine growth forecast to 5.4% by Moody’s Investors Service may further affect negative investor sentiment.

“Forecast cut is not surprising anymore since most companies are reporting that COVID-19 pandemic would significantly affect their business operations… Other than that, consumer spending (the major contributor to the Philippines’ growth) might also decline since non-essential goods and services are discouraged,” Ms. Alviar said.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan added that the need to keep cash on hand while under enhanced community quarantine may force investors to sell.

“Funds may want to remain liquid and weather out the storm first,” he said in a mobile message yesterday.

Ms. Alviar is pegging psychological support for the market at 5,000. Ms. Limlingan puts it within 5,100-4,500, with resistance level at 5,600.