By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

LOCAL SHARES ended with gains on Thursday as investors looked forward to the relaxation of the Metro Manila quarantine next week.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) added 46.44 points or 0.84% to close at 5,570.22, while the broader all shares index picked up 19.54 points or 0.58% to 3,348.66.

“The market went up as investors seem to be optimistic over the anticipated gradual easing of lockdown measures in Metro Manila and other major cities of the country,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren T. Pangan said in a text message.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte was scheduled to address the nation Thursday night, with most expecting that he’ll announce a relaxation of the Metro Manila lockdown by June 1 following recommendation of city mayors.

Ideally, this would allow increased movement for people and goods as work is set to resume in more sectors and industries.

Mr. Pangan said if the optimism is sustained on Friday, the PSEi may end the week above the 5,600 level.

However, for PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona, the local market seems to still be moving within the 5,400 to 5,600 range.

“The market is still consolidating between 5,400 and 5,600, which implies that there is still some tentativeness or indecision in the market,” he said in a text message.

“There seems to be a resurgence in the number of new cases the past days which if persisting, might force authorities to halt the transition to (a relaxed lockdown) and further delay efforts to restart the economy,” he added.

The Health Department reported this week the highest number of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in a single day in more than a month, reaching 350 new cases on Tuesday, the largest since April 6’s 414.

The Philippines’ COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday stood at 15,049, where 10,639 remain active.

But if optimism prevails, Mr. Lisbona said the bulls may push the market above 5,600 on Friday.

Most sectoral indices ended Thursday’s trading in green territory. Financials rose 29.27 points or 2.69% to 1,116.61; property grew 38.07 points or 1.38% to 2,795.90; holding firms improved 22.29 points or 0.40% to 5,595.98; and services climbed 1.44 point or 0.10% to 1,317.14.

On the other hand, mining and oil lost 47.61 points or 1.06% to 4,417.62 and industrials trimmed 9.57 points or 0.13% to 7,190.80.

Some 2.81 billion issues valued at P4.47 billion switched hands on Thursday, rising from the previous day’s 1.51 billion issues worth P5.48 billion.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 113 against 75, while 39 names ended unchanged. Net foreign outflows increased to P478.14 million from P209.92 million.