By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX closed lower on Monday as investors kept assessing the economic effect of the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and the earnings reports of listed companies.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped 14.53 points or 0.26% to close at 5,450.45 on Monday. The broader all shares index also slid 8.01 points or 0.23% to 3,342.72.

“Local shares logged in another loss as investors digested economic data, mixed corporate results, and the extension of the ECQ past April 30,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message yesterday.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said Monday the central bank is still considering further monetary easing to support the economy amid the extension of the ECQ until May 15.

Since the government announced the ECQ extension in Greater Metro Manila and the nearby regions of Central Luzon and Calabarzon on Friday, investors continued digesting its effect on the economy on Monday, which resulted in profit taking at the market.

The PSEi opened at 5,493.21 and shed gains intraday to hit a low of 5,390.97 before it closed at 5,450.45.

The PSE also extended the implementation of shortened trading hours at the market for the duration of the extended ECQ. The market will open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 1 p.m. until May 15.

Earnings season kicked off yesterday, starting with UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. and Manila Electric Co., which reported mixed results in the first quarter. These financial results are being evaluated by investors to assess how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting business performance amid operational and demand disruptions.

“Some investors expect either lower earnings or losses in most companies’ books due to the rapid spread of coronavirus, which adversely affected its businesses, so this pushes investors to profit take for now,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a text message.

Despite a drop in the PSEi, four out of six sectoral indices closed higher after Monday’s session: mining and oil rose 242.41 points or 5.27% to 4,834.86; services gained 17.66 points or 1.35% to 1,318.23; property picked up 16.98 points or 0.62% to 2,732.44; and industrials added 40.19 points or 0.55% to 7,249.67.

On the other hand, financials lost 26.08 points or 2.19% to 1,162.61; and holding firms slipped 49.20 points or 0.91% to 5,312.58.

Some 568.77 million issues valued at P4.07 billion switched hands on Monday, lower from 829.26 million issues worth P5.24 billion in the last session.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 112 against 88, while 32 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign outflows dropped to P823.64 million yesterday from P1.02 billion on Friday.