By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX kept its upward trajectory yesterday as investors remained optimistic in anticipation of easing quarantine measures in select areas across the country.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 56.74 points or 1% to end at 5,700.71 on Thursday. The broader all shares index also climbed 20.55 points or 0.60% to 3,445.83.

“The local bourse ended the shortened week on a positive note as some areas previously under ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) will be part of the more relaxed GCQ (general community quarantine) conditions,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren T. Pangan said in a text message.

“Investors may have seen this as a positive thing for our economic well-being,” he added.

As the ECQ in select areas was set to expire yesterday, the government has started issuing clearer rules on which sectors may start going out and resume operations to oil the economy.

This is expected to help dampen the economic toll of the 1.5-month-long ECQ in Luzon, which shut down the operations of most sectors except a few ones considered “essential.”

Trading at the local bourse is suspended today in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said the sustained climb of the PSEi yesterday is also driven by positive development on finding a solution for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the result of the meeting of the US Federal Reserve.

“Philippine equities jumped on the back of positive data from a potential coronavirus treatment from Gilead Sciences, continued effort from the Federal Reserve to sustain US growth,” he said in a mobile message.

US-based healthcare firm Gilead Sciences, Inc. continued reporting positive development from its trials of its anti-COVID-19 drug yesterday.

Also after meeting on Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve decided to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero until its economy has recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. It likewise committed to do what it takes to lift the economy, Reuters reported yesterday.

All sectoral indices at the PSE closed with gains at the end of Thursday’s session: services improved 24.82 points or 1.84% to 1,373.82; financials added 18.80 points or 1.61% to 1,188.67; property rose 34.19 points or 1.18% to 2,921.92; holding firms gained 34.92 points or 0.63% to 5,544.29; mining and oil climbed 15.63 points or 0.33% to 4,708.57; and industrials increased 9.54 points or 0.12% to 7,474.93.

Some 590.40 million issues valued at P6.58 billion switched hands yesterday, slightly improving from Wednesday’s 584.34 million issues worth P4.54 billion.

Advancers stood at 120, decliners at 71, and unchanged names at 46.

Net foreign selling slowed to P658.39 million yesterday from P726.05 million the day prior.