Shares inch up as gov’t seals new vaccine deal

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PHILIPPINE SHARES inched up on Tuesday after government officials said they have acquired some 30 million doses of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 6.62 points or 0.1% to finish at 6,559.08 on Tuesday. The broader all shares index likewise increased by 4.28 points or 0.1% to 3,954.15.

“Philippine shares [reversed earlier] losses… to close in the green as news reports say the government signed a supply deal for 30 million Novavax doses. Speculation is now arising as to how soon these said vaccines will arrive,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

“Meanwhile, sentiment also got a boost as investors grew optimistic about the economic reopening from the pandemic worldwide,” Mr. Limlingan added.

Facing criticisms about a slow-moving vaccination drive, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr., who is also the chief enforcer of the state’s anti-coronavirus efforts, said more doses should arrive soon, Reuters reported.

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Nearly 2.4 million doses are expected by early April, comprising 979,200 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine through the COVAX facility and 1.4 million Sinovac shots including 400,000 donated by China, he said.

The government has also signed an agreement with the Serum Institute of India for 30 million Novavax vaccine doses, due to arrive in the third or fourth quarter of the year, said Mr. Galvez.

AB Capital Securities, Inc. Junior Equity Analyst Lance U. Soledad, meanwhile, said the local bourse was unable to hold on to earlier gains as investors continue to look for fresh leads.

“The market was not able to sustain its rally for the session and closed flat amid lack of positive catalyst,” Mr. Soledad said in a separate Viber message.

Most sectoral indices improved on Tuesday, except for holding firms, which declined by 62.44 points or 0.92% to 6,687.56; and property, which slumped by 4.15 points or 0.12% to close at 3,279.56.

Meanwhile, financials gained 24.05 points or 1.75% to end at 1,398.35; industrials went up by 98.78 points or 1.17% to 8,501.37; services added 12.83 points or 0.9% to close at 1,425.21; and mining and oil climbed by 30.75 points or 0.36% to 8,471.53.

Value turnover decreased to P5.9 billion on Tuesday with 3.3 billion shares switching hands, lower than the P9.23 billion with 5.56 billion shares that were traded on Monday.

Advancers beat decliners, 118 against 97, while 41 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling dropped to P298.84 million on Tuesday from the P1.12 billion seen on Monday.

AB Capital Securities’ Mr. Soledad sees the local bourse trading sideways for now.

“We expect [the support to be] at 6,500 and 6,450 and resistance at 6,600 and 6,800,” he said. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte with Reuters

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