PHILIPPINE SHARES rebounded on Tuesday after two days of decline as investors went bargain hunting following a slight improvement in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in Metro Manila.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) climbed 120.13 points or 1.66% to end at 7,343.96 on Tuesday, while the broader all shares index gained 37.16 points or 0.96% to close at 3,882.40.

“Market went on bargain hunting today after down for two days with the transmission rate on negative trend indicative of the slowing transmission rate after the uptrend prior to this week entry though infection rates remain at record levels,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message on Tuesday.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said sentiment turned positive amid signs of improvement in the National Capital Region’s (NCR) COVID-19 situation.

Independent research firm OCTA Research Group on Tuesday said the virus’ spread in the NCR region, suspected to be caused by the Omicron variant, is slowing down.

OCTA Research fellow and University of the Philippines professor Fredegusto Guido P. David also said during the government’s Laging Handa press briefing that based on the trend in South Africa, where the new variant was first detected, the cases declined after two weeks since its surge.

Mr. Tantiangco noted that market activity has weakened, with value turnover at just P4.95 billion with 850.25 million issues traded on Tuesday versus the P5.78 billion with 1.13 million shares logged on Monday.

“The lethargic trading shows that many investors are still staying out of the market while waiting for the COVID-19 uncertainties to clear,” he said.

First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said investors also priced in the peaking of the inoculation rate in the country and how infections seem close to a plateau.

The government last week said it has reached its initial target of fully vaccinating 54 million individuals. Vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. said during a taped Cabinet meeting on Monday night that the task force wants to inoculate 90 million people by June.

All sectoral indices ended in the green except for mining and oil, which lost 68.89 points or 0.66% to 10,249.94.

On the other hand, holding firms gained 130.97 points or 1.86% to 7,172.01; services climbed 36.25 points or 1.82% to 2,018.76; financials advanced 23.12 points or 1.40% to 1,672.27; property increased 42.52 points or 1.33% to 3,235.67; and industrials improved 70.39 points or 0.68% to 10,394.51.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 100 against 85, while 56 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling went down to P172.38 million from the P232.39 million recorded the previous trading day. — M.C. Lucenio