By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

PHILIPPINE shares ended higher on Thursday, ending its two-day skid, on the government’s approval of Pfizer, Inc.’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine for emergency use.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 30.3 points or 0.41% to close at 7,273.15, while the all shares index climbed 16.01 points or 0.36% to end at 4,350.94.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a mobile phone message that the local bourse improved as the market cheered the government’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

Reuters reported that the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday has granted emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine created by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The vaccine has shown to have a 95% efficacy rate, but requires storage in temperatures ranging from -80 to -60 degrees Celsius.

AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said the market improved despite a confirmed case of the new COVID-19 strain in the country.

“Buying pressure picked up right at the open after buyers noticed that there wasn’t much panic selling. This tells us that most investors were already expecting the new mutation to be found here and it was only a matter of time,” Mr. Mangun said in an e-mail.

The Department of Health announced on Wednesday that the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) has confirmed the detection of the new COVID-19 variant in the country.

The new variant, known as B117 and first found in the United Kingdom, was detected in a 29-year old Filipino male who arrived from the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 7.

Majority of sectoral indices closed higher on Thursday, except for mining and oil, which dropped 146.17 points or 1.46% to 9,808.54, and industrials, which fell 46.6 points or 0.48% to 9,499.84.

Financials improved 16.31 points or 1.09% to 1,506.39; services went up 14 points or 0.91% to 1,552.85; property increased 17.35 points or 0.46% to 3,712.82; and holding firms gained 6.59 points or 0.08% to 7,420.01.

Decliners bested advancers, 121 versus 107, while 36 names ended unchanged.

Value turnover amounted to P10.96 billion with 30.09 billion issues switching hands, lower than the P9.17 billion with 17.08 billion issues logged in the previous session.

Net foreign buying reached P242.46 million, a turnaround from the net outflows worth P220.06 million logged on Wednesday.

“The PSEi climbed all the way up to the 7,300 level, but couldn’t end the day above it, proving once again how strong this resistance level is. We may see a pullback on the last trading day of the week,” Mr. Mangun said. — with Reuters