By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

PHILIPPINE SHARES closed higher on Monday, beating most of their Asian peers, as investors reacted to government efforts to support the economy amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 100.15 points or 1.81% to end at 5,610.98 yesterday. The broader all shares index rose 48.19 points or 1.44% to 3,380.63.

The stock market remains on shortened trading hours for the duration of the extended enhanced community quarantine over Luzon. Trading will be from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. until April 30.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said yesterday’s climb is due to the economic stimulus programs that came amid the pandemic.

“We’re seeing both fiscal and monetary policy working together to combat the Coronavirus’ impact on the economy and this is what’s keeping the local bourse afloat so far,” he said in a text message.

Among these are government efforts such as emergency cash transfers and other social spending measures to protect public welfare. The central bank also said on Sunday it is looking a “deeper cut” in interest rates to help support the economy amid a “once-in-a-lifetime crisis.”

AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun attributed the decline in Asian equities to the rising COVID-19 cases across the world. He also traced negative investor sentiment from the announced cut in oil production of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies starting May.

The PSEi opened at 5,551.96 and hit a low of 5,521.49 before it rose to its high of 5,610.98 towards the close of trading.

“It opened lower as some investors took profits but quickly rebounded and traded sideways. Almost all its gains came at the close as selling was also minimal,” Mr. Mangun said via e-mail.

Sectoral indices all closed higher as well: mining and oil by 174.06 points or 4.02% to 4,495.02; industrials by 262.73 points or 3.71% to 7,335.89; property by 91.99 points or 3.24% to 2,930.39; services by 29.79 points or 2.43% to 1,252.03; holding firms by 22.77 points or 0.41% to 5,533.56; and financials by 4.62 points or 0.39% to 1,161.99.

Value turnover stood at P5.20 billion with 539.99 million issues switching hands, slightly lower from last session’s P5.95 billion with 490.73 million issues.

Advancers outpaced decliners, 112 against 70, while 46 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign outflows dropped to P587.63 million from last session’s net foreign selling of P1.68 billion. Foreigners have been pulling their money out of the Philippine bourse for the 19th straight day yesterday, which Philstocks’ Mr. Tantiangco said means local funds are mostly responsible for the lifting of the market.

“Support remains at 5,500 although we may see it break lower if we see a sudden surge of profit-taking,” AAA Southeast Securities’ Mr. Mangun said.