By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX closed in green territory for the second consecutive day as investors stayed on the sidelines while waiting for news on the United States’ second coronavirus stimulus package.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended Wednesday’s session higher by 39.16 points or 0.66% to 5,966.27. The broader all shares index also gained 14.60 points or 0.41% to 3,508.24.

However, the PSEi spent most of the day with losses, dropping to as low as 5,870.83 before it recovered in the last hour to reach a peak of 5,966.27.

Investors are focused on the US government’s decision regarding its stimulus efforts to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren T. Pangan said in a text message.

The US continues to lead the world in most COVID-19 cases, reaching 4.35 million as of Wednesday. US deaths due to the virus are also the highest in the world at 149,258, based on data from Johns Hopkins University.

US stocks ended Tuesday’s session with losses: the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices shed 0.77%, 0.65% and 1.27%, respectively.

Asian stocks were mixed as the PSE closed on Wednesday. Japanese and Taiwanese markets were trading in red territory while Hong Kong and Chinese markets were in the green.

Another factor that helped lift the PSEi was the easing of restrictions for more sectors starting next month. The government on Wednesday announced it will allow gyms, grooming centers, review centers and several other establishments to resume operations by Aug. 1.

“The easing of restrictions of local businesses have given optimism to investors but most remain cautious,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail.

“Most investors are still on the sidelines, evident in low trading volumes…, just half of the normal daily turnover,” he added.

Most sectoral indices at the PSE ended the session with gains. Industrials rose 128.92 points or 1.76% to 7,448.29; financials increased 11.98 points or 1.04% to 1,155.63; property added 20.55 points or 0.7% to 2,934.39; services climbed 7.19 points or 0.52% to 1,370.77; and holding firms improved 8.41 points or 0.13% to 6,199.70.

The only index with losses was mining and oil, which dropped 79.97 points or 1.47% to 5,335.45 at the end of session.

Value turnover stood at P3.57 billion with 1.18 billion issues switching hands, down from the previous day’s P4.31 billion with 1.96 billion issues.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 103 against 74, while 47 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling continued to fall to P86.74 million from P415.60 million a day ago.

“Second quarter earnings continue to roll out as the week progresses. We’ll have to see if the index closes the week above the 6,000 area,” Mr. Pangan said.