PHILIPPINE stocks closed in the red on Thursday after a three-day rally as investors booked gains and remained cautious due to the lack of an announcement about quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell by 106.54 points or 1.6% to close the week at 6,545.17, while the all shares index declined by 46.30 points or 1.14% to 3,998.64.

Financial markets are closed on Friday in observance of the Day of Valor.

“Investors booked gains out of its preceding three-day rally. Uncertainties over the quarantine measures to be implemented in the National Capital Region Plus after April 11 also weighed on investors’ sentiment,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

The National Capital Region, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan have been under ECQ, the strictest form of lockdown, since March 29 amid a fresh surge in cases. Presidential Spokesperson Herminio “Harry” L. Roque on Tuesday said the government is not keen on extending the strict lockdown in these areas, saying the government lacks funds for cash aid.

The Department of Health reported 6,414 coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing the total to 819,164. The death toll increased by 242 to 14,059, while recoveries increased by 163 to 646,404.

“The exit of foreign funds also added to the decline today… Trading remained lethargic… This implies that many are still staying out of the market due to the lingering economic and corporate uncertainties caused by our coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation,” Mr. Tantiangco said on Thursday.

Net foreign outflows amounted to P811.97 million on Thursday, more than the P667.2 million seen in the previous trading day.

Meanwhile, value turnover decreased to P5.02 billion on Thursday with 3.52 billion shares switching hands from the P6.05 billion seen on Wednesday with 3.41 billion issues traded.

“It is apparently a trading market on an upward path, but volatile with 6,700 as next resistance and 6,500 as next support,” First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message.

“Lending support to PSEi is the infection stats tempering after the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), leading to a more relaxed lockdown. Also, market positive is talk of progress in alternative COVID-19 preventive and treatment protocol,” Ms. Ulang added.

All sectoral indices closed in the red on Thursday. Holding firms dropped by 167.87 points or 2.46% to 6,632.36; property fell by 59.16 points or 1.78% to 3,253.67; services lost 9.88 points or 0.68% to 1,429.34; industrials went down by 45.06 points or 0.5% to 8,890.89; mining and oil declined by 30.70 points or 0.36% to 8,498.31; and financials inched down by 2.57 points or 0.18% to end at 1,387.47.

Decliners outperformed advancers, 110 versus 89, while 54 names closed unchanged. — K.C.G. Valmonte