LOCAL shares closed the week on a negative note as the country continues to record more cases of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), prompting investors to book gains while wary of the impact of the pandemic on the economy.

The 30 member Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) declined by 2.49% or 134.96 points to 5,266.62 while the broader all shares index fell by 0.96% or 31.32 points to 3,219.5.

In a text message, PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said that the market rallied early in the session, reaching an intraday high of 5,641.94 only to sputter and end the day lower by 132 points.

“Risk aversion is high moving towards the weekend as investors seem to be favoring being in cash over the weekend and just redeploying their funds when the market reopens next week,” Mr. Lisbona said.

In a text message, Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar attributed the decline to the increasing COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, which has heightened the worries of investors despite the fiscal stimulus package of the government.

As of Friday afternoon, 96 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Philippines, bringing the total cases to 803. The latest Department of Health case bulletin placed the number of deaths to 54, while 31 patients have recovered.

Ms. Alviar said the comment of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III that the stimulus package that would support the Philippine economy is not a priority dragged investors’ sentiment. She said the comment pushed investors to book some gains after the main index hit its resistance at around the 5,600 level.

In a text message, Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading and Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said that after rallying by around 7% on Thursday, the decline can be attributed to investors that may have decided to take profits off the table and not leave a huge exposure over the weekend.

On Friday, all indices registered a decline except for the services index which registered an increase at 2.99% or 34.27 points to 1,177.27.

Property index declined at 4.63% or 135.06 to 2,781.15; financials shrank by 3.01% or 37.85 points to 1,217.28; holding firms went down by 2.16% or 113.78 points to 5,142.11; mining and oil fell by 2.04% or 85.55% to 4,102.47; industrials retreated by 0.65% or 41.19 points to 6,204.54.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 101 to 90, while 36 remained unchanged. Net foreign selling is at P23.3 million. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave