STOCKS may move sideways this week as investors monitor the government’s implementation of targeted lockdowns, which are meant to curb rising coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections while boosting economic activity.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) climbed 46.49 points or 0.67% to close at 6,970.51 on Friday, while the all shares index went up by 22 points or 0.51% to 4,302.79.

Week on week, the benchmark index gained 73.38 points from its 6,897.13 finish on Sept. 3.

“The market started the week on a good note as investors cheered over the positive jobless report for the month of July, shrugging off worries over the acceleration seen in our inflation rate for the month of August,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a Viber message on Saturday.

Preliminary results of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) monthly Labor Force Survey released on Wednesday showed the number of unemployed Filipinos decreased to 3.073 million or 6.9% in July from the previous month’s 3.764 million or 7.7% jobless Filipinos. This is also less than the 4.569 million or 10% jobless Filipinos recorded in July last year.

Meanwhile, inflation rose 4.9% in August from the 4% in July, the PSA reported on Tuesday.

“The PSEi also gained after [the] IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) provisionally approved the guidelines on the pilot implementation of Alert Level System on COVID-19 response in the transition towards more localized or granular lockdown in [the] NCR (National Capital Region) initially with target implementation on September 16,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in an e-mail on Friday.

Metro Manila is under modified enhanced community quarantine until Sept. 15. After this, it will transition to granular lockdowns, which will be implemented until the end of the month. These targeted lockdowns are meant to curb infections without sacrificing economic activity.

“Potential catalysts that may affect the market’s performance [this] week include how the government goes about with the implementation of the granular lockdowns in the capital region,” Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said. “7,000 seems to be the nearest resistance area, with 6,780 being the closest support area.”

“Investors may also be staying tuned to how RCR (RL Commercial REIT, Inc.) will perform upon listing date,” Mr. Pangan added.

RCR is the real estate investment trust (REIT) unit sponsored by Robinsons Land Corp., which is set to list at the stock exchange on Tuesday, Sept. 14. It is offering 3,342,864,000 common shares for P6.45 apiece, with an overallotment option of up to 305,103,000 shares.

RCR is expected to raise up to P23.53 billion in proceeds. Upon listing, it will be the third REIT to make its debut this year and RCR will be the fourth REIT listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange. — K.C.G. Valmonte