By Denise A. Valdez, Senior Reporter

PHILIPPINE SHARES continued moving sideways on Wednesday as investors started taking into consideration the expiration of current quarantine measures in the country towards the end of the month.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed flat, shedding 1.56 points or 0.02% to end at 5,892.72. The broader all shares index was, likewise, flat, posting a 1.21-point or 0.03% uptick to 3,545.14.

The main driver of sentiment remains to be the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in Europe, where cases have surged in the past days, said Darren T. Pangan, trader at Timson Securities, Inc.

COVID-19 cases in Europe swelled 5,331 to 4.54 million as of Wednesday, prompting new restrictions to contain the fresh virus outbreak in the region. Britain has announced tighter restrictions on Tuesday, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said may last up to six months.

“Locally, investors may be weighing the government’s decision on the quarantine measures to be enforced after the month of September,” Mr. Pangan said in a text message.

The relaxed quarantine restrictions currently in place in Metro Manila and nearby cities are set to last until the end of the month. By October, the government will announce a new set of restrictions, which may tighten, relax or maintain current protocols.

“The general sentiment remains cautious, despite the daily improvement in economic activity. There is some concern that without additional mobility, with the easing of restrictions on public transportation as well as reopening of tourism focused industries, economic activity may be at its peak,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail.

Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said the PSEi’s nearest support area is 5,750, and resistance is 6,100. AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun expects the PSEi to continue lower in the remaining two days of the week.

Four of six sectoral indices recorded losses on Wednesday’s closing. Mining and oil dropped 63.35 points or 1.05% to 5,944.54; services trimmed 8.69 points or 0.59% to 1,446.72; property lost 10.62 points or 0.38% to 2,733.81; and financials dipped 0.07 point or less than a percent to 1,142.48.

The two gainers were industrials and holding firms. Industrials improved 68.46 points or 0.87% to 7,872.45, while holding firms picked up 11.63 points or 0.18% to 6,158.34 at the end of session.

Value turnover slipped to P4.45 billion on Wednesday from P4.63 billion the previous day. Some 1.47 billion issues switched hands.

Advancers beat decliners by two, 92 against 90, while 56 names ended unchanged.

Foreign investors were net sellers for the ninth straight day, but net outflows declined to P95.86 million from P655.13 million the previous day.