PHILIPPINE shares rose on Thursday as worries over the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) variant eased, with local infections also staying low.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 87.62 points or 1.22% to close at 7,234.92 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index went up by 37.04 points or 0.97% to 3,842.55.

“Philippine shares climbed higher on Wednesday, coming on the back of improved investor optimism that the Omicron variant is not severe enough to derail the economic recovery,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

“The rally was sustained by optimism towards the Philippines’ improving COVID-19 situation and the positive spillovers from Wall Street’s overnight rise. Preliminary evidence, which shows that the Omicron variant may cause milder infections compared to the Delta variant according to the World Health Organization, also helped in lifting sentiment,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

The Department of Health reported 562 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with the total infections at 2,835,996 since the pandemic first hit the country on March 2020.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35.32 points or 0.10% to 35,754.75; the S&P 500 gained 14.46 points or 0.31% to 4,701.21; and the Nasdaq Composite added 100.07 points or 0.64% to 15,786.99, Reuters reported.

“In the international scene, participants may also be digesting the recently announced inflation report in China for the month of November,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a Viber message.

China’s factory-gate inflation cooled slightly in November, driven by a government crackdown on runaway commodity prices and an easing power crunch, potentially giving policy makers some latitude to unleash more stimulus.

Back home, most sectoral indices closed in the green on Thursday except for property, which fell 2.48 points or 0.07% to 3,265.44.

Meanwhile, financials added 38.21 points or 2.42% to 1,612.23; holding firms improved by 87.80 points or 1.27% to end at 6,978.22; industrials gained 116.42 points or 1.12% to 10,433.58; services climbed 21.19 points or 1.07% to 1,994.98; and mining and oil rose 15.21 points or 0.16% to close at 9,213.21.

Value turnover increased to P8.61 billion with 1.87 billion issues switching hands on Thursday from the P7.86 billion with 1.98 billion shares traded on Tuesday.

Financial markets were closed on Wednesday in commemoration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 108 against 90, while 45 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling surged to P1.09 billion yesterday from the P259.70 million logged on Tuesday.

“6,800 seems to be the closest support area to watch, while 7,454.50 may be considered the nearest major resistance area for the index,” Mr. Pangan said. — MCL with Reuters