PHILIPPINE SHARES continued to climb on Wednesday as the rise in global coronavirus cases slowed and on expectations that the central bank will keep rates low at its meeting today.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) rose by 16.6 points or by 0.23% to 7,082.15, while the all shares index increased by 10.88 points or 0.25% to 4,260.81.

“The PSEi continued higher today as more investors turned optimistic, brought by a decline in new global COVID-19 cases. This renewed optimism has encouraged investors that were on the sidelines to take a second look at the market. Even foreign investors were net-buyers today after months and months of heavy selling,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a text message that expectations of accommodative monetary policy boosted market sentiment.

“The market closed slightly higher for the fifth consecutive day as investors may have taken positively the Monetary Board’s comment that the raising of interest rate may be unlikely amid the current economic standing of the country,” Mr. Pangan noted.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Monetary Board member Felipe M. Medalla said in a briefing on Tuesday that increasing the country’s interest rate “is not in the picture.” He added that they are taking into account the impact of key rates on financial security as the country recovers from the pandemic.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco also attributed the market’s movement to the BSP’s policy meeting on Thursday, Feb. 11.

“The positive sentiment was driven by hopes that the BSP would keep policy rates at accommodative levels to support the economy,” Mr. Tantiangco said.

Majority of the PSE’s sectoral indices rose on Wednesday. Holding firms increased by 100.32 points or 1.38% to 7,332.83; mining and oil rose by 112.6 points or 1.25% to 9,104.37; property added 31.64 points or 0.88% to 3,603.92; and services went up 1.75 points or 0.11% at 1,506.49.

Meanwhile, financials dropped by 38.87 points or 2.6% to 1,454.39 and industrials lost 45.08 points or 0.49% to 9,151.55.

Some 130 names advanced, while 91 declined and 44 issues closed unchanged.

Value turnover dropped to P11.67 billion with 27.5 billion issues switching hands on Wednesday from the P12.27 billion with 30.44 billion issues seen the previous day. Net foreign buying also declined to P122.87 million yesterday from the P532.56 million recorded on Tuesday.

“[Thursday] being the last trading day of the week, we’ll have to see if the index stays above the 7,000 area,” Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said.

“We may see more profit taking in the next trading session as it will be the last for the week due to the holiday on Friday,” AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun added. — K.G. Valmonte