STOCKS are expected to climb this week as the market anticipates the possible easing of quarantine restrictions and updates on the national vaccine indemnification fund.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went down by 76.77 points to close at 6,926.41 on Friday from its 6,991.01 close on Feb. 11.

The market’s average turnover increased by 21.93% last week to finish at 15.07 billion.

“The market ended the week lower mainly due to the delayed vaccine rollout, contrary to the expected start by [mid-February].” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Junior Equity Analyst Lance U. Soledad said in a Viber message on Friday.

Investors are waiting for the finalization of the country’s vaccine indemnification fund, which delayed the start of the government’s inoculation program.

The proposed COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act will not hold vaccine manufacturers liable for any negative side effects caused by the vaccine. It also seeks to provide a P500-million indemnity fund to compensate vaccine recipients affected with unforeseen side effects.

“Market was on downward consolidation this past week with reports of no substantial economic gain this year, with [the Philippines] among the highest COVID-19 infection rate in Asia at more than 1,500 daily [cases], while Chinese investors [were] still on [the] sidelines celebrating the New Year festivities,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message on Saturday.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said investors were also wary due to the increased seismic activities of Taal Volcano.

Earnings reports of companies may affect market movement this coming week, analysts said.

“With the market rebound [on Friday] on bargain hunting as sentiment improved on preparation for vaccine rollout and the possible further easing of restrictions, market may further recover going [through] this week with Chinese investors coming back from vacation after New Year celebrations plus release of earnings of different listed companies seen better than 3Q 2020,” Diversified Securities’ Mr. Pangan said.

He expects the PSEi to move between 6,800 to 7,160 this week.

“[This] week, [investors] will take the lead of foreign flows following the MSCI rebalancing,” Regina Capital’s Mr. Limlingan added.

Meanwhile, AB Capital Securities’ Mr. Soledad said the market would close at 7,200 at best.

“[We] expect the index to hover between 6,800 to 7,200 as investors monitor developments regarding the indemnification fund, as well as the final decision if the whole country will be put under [modified general community quarantine],” he said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte is expected to make a decision on quarantine restrictions this week. The country’s COVID-19 task force last week recommended the easing of the lockdown in the National Capital Region to increase economic activity. — K.C.G. Valmonte