SHARES rebounded on Tuesday on expectations that the National Capital Region (NCR) would be under Alert Level 1 by next month amid the continued decline in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 68.66 points or 0.93% to close at 7,440.91 on Tuesday, while the broader all shares index went up by 21.85 points or 0.55% to 3,938.51.

First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message that expectations of eased restrictions will mark the start of “endemic normalization” as this would allow establishments to operate at full capacity.

“The market ended higher today as market participants hunted for bargains amid the improving COVID-19 situation,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a Viber message on Tuesday.

Metro Manila may be downgraded to Alert Level 1 by March, OCTA Research group said on Tuesday.

Alert Level 1 should be enforced in the National Capital Region, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President George T. Barcelon told an online news briefing on Monday, adding that easing restrictions must be supported by increased public transport capacity.

Malacañang has kept NCR under Alert Level 2 until Feb. 28. More business establishments may increase operating capacities from 50% to 70% depending on whether activities are indoors or outdoors.

Once the government approves the shift to Alert Level 1, businesses may operate at 100% capacity as long as minimum public health standards are followed.

The majority of sectoral indices ended in the green, except for property, which fell by 7.82 points or 0.21% to 3,570.62, and financials, which went down by 1.81 points or 0.10% to 1,730.45.

Meanwhile, holding firms climbed 131.30 points or 1.90% to 7,013.75; mining and oil rose by 216.82 points or 1.86% to 11,873.14; services went up by 22.02 points or 1.14% to 1,947.65; and industrials increased 47.08 points or 0.45% to 10,470.45.

Value turnover climbed to P12.85 billion with 3.13 billion shares changing hands on Tuesday from the P9.11 billion with 1.40 billion shares seen the previous trading day.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 98 against 94, while 54 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign buying increased to P510.33 million on Tuesday versus the P320.17 million seen on Monday.

Mr. Pangan said the PSEi’s immediate support this week is at 6,940 and resistance at 7,510.

Investors will continue to monitor the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia, he said.

On Monday, tensions escalated after Russian leader Vladimir Putin formally recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reported. — L.M.J.C. Jocson with Reuters