By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

LOCAL SHARES recovered on Tuesday as prospects of an antiviral drug against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) sparked optimism among investors.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) picked up 76.50 points or 1.39% to close at 5,555.85, while the broader all shares index gained 34.32 points or 1.03% to end at 3,359.82.

“Philippine shares rallied as news from a Moderna trial stroked optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a text message.

He was referring to the results of an anti-COVID-19 drug test by United States-based Moderna, Inc. Reports from US media said the biotechnology company found positive results from testing its vaccine to eight people, who developed neutralizing antibodies that fight the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

CNN reported that Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks said the vaccine may be available to the public as early as January.

“With most of the regional markets up after optimism among investors (over the development of) a new vaccine from Moderna…, our local market followed suit,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message.

Most Asian markets were showing an uptrend before the local market closed. US markets were gainers on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices rising 3.85%, 3.15% and 2.44%, respectively.

Mr. Limlingan said other drivers of the PSEi were positive news from China that its government is deepening reforms for state-owned enterprises. Among the plans are opening oil and gas network, liberalizing the selling prices of natural gas and allowing foreign participation in more sectors.

Another is the remark of US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said in a CBS newscast that the central bank still has ammo to fight the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most sectoral indices at the PSE ended Tuesday’s trading with gains. Holding firms led the pack with an increase of 120.81 points or 2.26% to 5,459.13. Services rose 21.53 points or 1.64% to 1,328.35; financials climbed 13.59 points or 1.22% to 1,121.57; property added 11.84 points or 0.41% to 2,835.23; and industrials inched up 2.22 points or 0.03% to 7,393.42.

The only index in red territory was mining and oil, which shed 8.56 points or 0.19% to close the session at 4,489.91.

Value turnover stood at P4.05 billion with 600.65 million issues switching hands, improving from the previous session’s P3.95 billion with 445.94 million issues.

Advancers led decliners, 90 against 80, while 44 names ended unchanged. Foreign investors were sellers for the 10th straight day. Net outflows increased to P417.76 million on Tuesday from P342.69 million on Monday.