LOCAL SHARES declined anew on Thursday on dampened investor sentiment as the Philippines’ coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases breached the 50,000 mark.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dropped 92.92 points or 1.47% to close at 6,192.58. The broader all shares index shed 38.23 points or 1.03% to end at 3,645.52.

“The PSEi ended in the red as the Philippines had a new highest reported COVID-19 cases in a single day (on Wednesday), putting worries on investors,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a text message.

The Department of Health reported 2,539 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, pushing the country’s total tally to 50,359, making the Philippines the second largest COVID-19 hotspot in the ASEAN region.

AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said this fueled investor worries that stricter quarantine measures might have to be put in place again, dashing hopes of an economic rebound.

“We may see the main index move lower and test support at 6,040 (on Friday),” Mr. Mangun said in an e-mail.

Across the world, COVID-19 infections hit 12 million cases, with the United States reporting a record 60,021 new cases in a single day. Global deaths as of Thursday have reached 549,508, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the global scope of the crisis, overseas markets were still gaining on Thursday. Most Asian stocks were in green territory when the PSE closed. US markets also closed higher on Wednesday: the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices picked up 0.68%, 0.78% and 1.44%, respectively.

Ms. Alviar said one of the concerns of investors is the higher gross non-performing loans of banks as an effect of the pandemic. Preliminary data from the central bank showed non-performing loans increased in the past five months, which weighed on investor sentiment on Thursday, she said, as evidenced by declines in the financials and property indices.

The property index gave up 93.65 points or 3.07% to 2,953.95, while the financials index lost 10.69 points or 0.86% to 1,226.31. Other sectoral indices that ended in red territory were industrials, which fell 135.21 points or 1.73% to 7,644.66; holding firms, which slid 58.43 points or 0.88% to 6,538.39; and services, which dipped 2.26 points or 0.15% to 1,439.68.

The sole gainer was mining and oil, which rose 71.79 points or 1.33% to 5,481.08 at the end of Thursday’s session.

Value turnover stood at P5.09 billion with 1.42 billion issues switching hands, down from the previous day’s P8.72 billion with 2.39 billion issues.

Decliners beat advancers, 104 against 87, while 39 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling on Thursday grew to P649.66 million from Wednesday’s P376.29 million. — Denise A. Valdez