PHILIPPINE SHARES declined on Monday as investors remained cautious ahead of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s decision on the easing of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange (PSEi) dropped by 116.07 points or 1.67% to close at 6,810.34 on Monday, while the broader all shares index went down by 43.77 points or 1.04% to 4,155.23.

“Investors booked gains ahead of the government’s decision with respect to the quarantine measures of the Philippines for March 2021,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

“Investors chose to take a cautious stance as the possibility of keeping [general community quarantine] in some areas of the country remains amid the continuous rise in COVID-19 cases together with threats coming from the UK variant’s spread and even new mutations,” Mr. Tantiangco added.

Mr. Duterte is expected to make a decision on the country’s quarantine restrictions for March this week after the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) task force recommended to relax lockdown measures to stimulate economic activity.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a separate Viber message that the PSEi’s decline was also due to rising US bond yields.

“The PSEi continued lower led by losses in large-cap holding firms. Investors continue to unload positions after favoring these holding companies for months due to their diversified portfolios,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John J. Mangun said via e-mail.

“We may see investors begin to take positions in specific industries now that the economy is recovering,” Mr. Mangun added.

Majority of sectoral indices ended in the red on Monday, except for mining and oil, which went up by 407.85 points or 4.34% to finish at 9,804.52.

Holding firms decreased 190.52 points or 2.65% to 6,996.88; services fell 21.74 points or 1.47% to 1,457.63; industrials dropped 80.2 points or 0.89% to 8,883.73; property declined by 29.48 points or 0.85% to 3,416.2; and financials inched down by 10.62 points or 0.72% to 1,460.88.

Value turnover went down to P8.5 billion on Monday with 16.43 billion shares switching hands, from the P9.56 billion traded on Friday with 16.37 billion shares.

Decliners outnumbered advances, 116 versus 96, while 44 names closed unchanged. Net foreign selling went up to P1.36 billion on Monday from P579.54 million on Friday.

“Foreign funds also continued to exit the country amid the rising bond yields in the US and the depreciation of the local currency,” Philstocks Financial’s Mr. Tantiangco said.

AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun expects the index to close at 6,740 today before it recovers.

“The general sentiment remains cautious due to the economy’s slower than expected recovery,” he said. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte