PHILIPPINE shares declined ahead of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s State of the Nation (SONA) address on Monday and lingering worries about the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 148.13 points or 2.27% to close at 6,372.61 on Monday, while the broader all shares index lost 73.36 points or 1.81% to end at 3,965.15.

“Investors sold out of the market as investors await the final SONA to be addressed by the President Duterte,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

“Most expect the President to discuss how he will shepherd the country out of the pandemic,” he added. “The other narrative theme will focus on the administration’s heirloom legacies.”

“The market dropped as investors continue to monitor the Delta variant’s spread in the country,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a separate Viber message.

“In the global scene, market participants seem to be observing how the recent stricter quarantine measures being enforced in several countries may affect the global economic recovery,” Mr. Pangan added.

Mr. Duterte was set to deliver his last annual address after the market closed on Monday, with less than a year left in office and with the pandemic still threatening the country’s outlook.

The government on Friday placed Metro Manila and the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte under general community quarantine “with heightened restrictions” until the end of the month to stem the spread of the virus.

The Health department on Sunday reported 55 new cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the total to 119 infections so far. Of these, four have died, while 103 are tagged as recovered. Active cases of the variant stood at 12.

Overall, there were 5,479 new COVID-19 infections reported that day, which brought the country’s active cases of the virus to 54,262.

All sectoral indices closed lower on Monday. Holding firms declined by 158.89 points or 2.42% to 6,391.43; financials went down by 33.11 points or 2.33% to 1,382.51; services lost 32.43 points or 2.08% to finish at 1,519.94; property shaved off 61.71 points or 2.02% to 2,980.83; industrials dropped 153.19 points or 1.67% to 9,006.29; and mining and oil shed 111.10 points or 1.17% to 9,375.43.

Value turnover slumped to P4.15 billion with 1.95 billion shares switching hands on Monday, from the P8.90 billion with 2.22 billion issues logged on Friday.

Decliners beat advancers, 151 versus 49, while 39 names remained unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers anew with P630.51 million in net outflows logged on Monday from the P4.37 billion in net purchases recorded on Friday.

“Next immediate support may be placed at 6,160, while nearest resistance may be pegged at 6,670,” Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte