PHILIPPINE shares ended higher on Monday due to last-minute bargain hunting as investors await the government’s announcement of new quarantine measures amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 22.73 points or 0.38% to 5,861.39 while the broader all shares index went up 10.35 points or 0.29% to 3,530.98.

Philstocks Financial Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a mobile phone message that the local market rose on bargain hunting of market giant SM Investments Corp. (SMIC), which has the heaviest weight in the index at around 12% to 13%.

On Monday, shares in SMIC increased 26 points or 3% to close at P895 apiece.

Ms. Alviar added that the market closed higher on the back of optimism on the slim chance of the capital’s return to stricter lockdown measures amid a slowdown in the daily tally of COVID-19 cases.

“Today’s gain is also attributed to the positive sentiment brought by the resumption of some provincial buses, supporting the gradual reopening of the economy,” Ms. Alviar said on Monday. “It seems like the decision would be either the National Capital Region (NCR) would remain under general community quarantine or the lockdown would be eased.”

Majority of the market’s sectoral indices ended in positive territory on Monday.

Holding firms improved 49.82 points or 0.82% to 6,085.78; industrials climbed 34.12 points or 0.43% to 7,906.62; services went up 5.62 points or 0.38% to 1,454.81; and financials inched up 3.2 points or 0.28% to 1,142.28.

On the other hand, property dropped 17.19 points or 0.63% to 2,708.71, and mining and oil fell 28.87 points or 0.49% to 5,845.19.

Value turnover amounted to P5.08 billion with 1.14 billion issues switching hands, higher than the P3.66 billion worth of 1.41 billion shares logged in the previous trading day.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 113 to 88, while 38 names ended unchanged.

Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading and Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said the local market still closed higher, even as foreigners remained as net sellers.

Net foreign outflows stood at P1.81 billion on Monday, more than double the P627.97 million recorded on Friday.

“The market’s support remains at the 5,750 level, while resistance may be pegged at 6,200,” Mr. Pangan said in a mobile phone message.

Meanwhile, Asian markets were powered on Monday by signs China’s economic recovery was gaining momentum with pent-up demand, fiscal stimulus and surprisingly resilient exports boosting sentiment across the region, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.7% to 551.48, but stayed within striking distance of a two-month low of 543.66 hit last week. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave with Reuters