PHILIPPINE shares are expected to trade sideways on the last trading day of the year as investors take into account the country’s pandemic recovery prospects.

On Wednesday, the 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went up by 48.06 points or 0.66% to close at 7,334.56. Meanwhile, the broader all shares index went up 25.47 points or 0.66% to finish at 3,883.38. 

Year to date, the PSEi has gained 137.06 points from its 7,197.50 finish on Jan. 4.

Financial markets were closed on Thursday in commemoration of Rizal Day and will resume trading on Friday with a half-day schedule and close trading at 12:10 p.m.

“For the last trading day of the year, the market could move sideways,” Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco, senior research and engagement supervisor at Philstocks Financial, Inc., said in a virtual call on Wednesday.

“In the last week of a year, this is usually when hopes towards next year pour into the market,” he added.

The PSEi has ended in the green since the beginning of the week, gaining 72.94 points on Monday, 31.70 points on Tuesday, and 48.06 points on Wednesday to end at 7,334.56. The majority of sectoral indices also posted gains on Wednesday, save for holding firms. 

For Friday, First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said the benchmark index will “hopefully [be] setting above 7,400.”

“PSEi offered lots of profitable trading opportunities in the second half of this year, buoyed by the return of foreign buying as well as global and local economic reopening story underpinned by the inoculation drive,” Ms. Ulang said in a Viber message on Wednesday.

Net foreign buying amounted to P568.4 million on Wednesday, lower than the P659.90 million seen in net purchases the previous trading day.

The country’s vaccination rate has reached 63% of its target population, the presidential spokesperson said. That rate translates to 48.6 million individuals completing their COVID-19 jabs.

“There are mounting concerns with respect to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) situation of the country, primarily in the National Capital Region,” Mr. Tantiangco said.

The Health department logged 889 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, the highest daily tally in more than a month. This brought the country’s active cases to 10,418. The country’s COVID-19 positivity rate stood at 4.5%.

“[Investors] will be weighing hopes with respect to the 2022 economic recovery and at the same time, they will also be weighing the uncertainties stemming from our COVID-19 situation,” Mr. Tantiangco said.

“With that, we would most likely be moving sideways,” he added. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte