LOCAL SHARES closed higher on Monday as investors expect positive news from the government regarding the easing of lockdown measures at the end of this week.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) picked up 45.99 points or 0.81% to end at 5,667.93. The broader all shares index also grew 22.44 points or 0.65% to 3,426.24.

“Local shares traded higher as investors optimistically awaited the decision of Malacañang regarding the possible lifting or even easing of the lockdown after May 15,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte was expected to make an announcement last night on whether they will relax or extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region. Metro Manila mayors were divided on whether to recommend an extension or lifting of the ECQ as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) still lingers.

Despite this, investors were “hopeful that more economic restrictions will be eased especially in our top economically productive regions,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said via text.

“The easing of restrictions would help mitigate the economic losses we are incurring this second quarter which are already expected to be deeper than the first quarter,” he added.

The market opened yesterday with some selling, which pulled the PSEi to a low of 5,627.19. It eventually rallied and hit a high of 5,681.68 before closing at 5,667.93.

Value turnover was lower at P4.54 billion from P5.86 billion in the previous session. Some 480.05 million issues switched hands.

Most sectoral indices ended with gains, led by industrials, which climbed 178.77 points or 2.44% to 7,505.56. AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said this can be attributed to shares in Universal Robina Corp., Jollibee Foods Corp. and Manila Electric Co., which increased 4.88%, 3.31% and 1.35%, respectively.

Mining and oil rose 67.67 points or 1.49% to 4,588.52; financials added 11.98 points or 1.04% to 1,160.06; holding firms advanced 46.68 points or 0.84% to 5,578.95; and property climbed 2.78 points or 0.09% to 2,937.75.

The sole decliner was the services index, which shed 6.30 points or 0.47% to 1,316.38.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 90 against 80, while 55 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign outflows expanded to P871.52 million yesterday from P771.19 million in the last session.

“Retail investors were active (yesterday) with increased volatility in several second-liners and speculative issues. Confirmation of the lifting of the ECQ will send the PSEi higher and perhaps allow it to test its resistance before the end of the week,” Mr. Mangun said. — Denise A. Valdez