PHILIPPINE shares closed higher on expectations that the central bank would keep rates low to support the economy at its policy meeting, which was set to conclude aftermarket hours on Thursday.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 24.55 points or 0.35% to close at 6,915.28 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index went up by 15.93 points or 0.37% to finish at 4,302.50.

“Market rose on expectations of continuing BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) monetary accommodation to achieve sustainable economic and corporate earnings growth,” First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message.

Trading closed ahead of the central bank’s policy statement on Thursday. In a BusinessWorld poll conducted last week, 17 out of 18 analysts said they expect the Monetary Board to keep the policy rate at its record low of two percent.

“The local market climbed further this Thursday… The continuous decline in our daily new COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases and the optimistic cues from Wall Street’s overnight performance gave a boost to positive sentiment,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a separate Viber message.

“Trading weakened further,” he added. “This shows that many investors are still staying out of the market due to the lingering uncertainties.”

Value turnover inched down to P6.48 billion with 1.59 billion issues switching hands on Thursday, lower than the P6.49 billion with 705.34 million issues traded on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Health department logged 15,592 new COVID-19 infections. The country’s tally went up to 2,417,419, while active cases stood at 162,580.

Meanwhile, the three major US stock indexes rose 1% on Wednesday as investors mostly took in stride the latest signals from the Federal Reserve, including clearing the way for the central bank to reduce its monthly bond purchases soon, Reuters reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 338.48 points or 1% to 34,258.32; the S&P 500 gained 41.45 points or 0.95% to 4,395.64; and the Nasdaq Composite added 150.45 points or 1.02% to 14,896.85.

Back home, majority of sectoral indices closed in the green on Thursday except for holding firms, which inched down by 1.87 points or 0.02% to 6,935.57.

Meanwhile, industrials climbed 140.35 points or 1.39% to 10,236.01; property rose 28.31 points or 0.94% to 3,020.77; financials went up by 4.15 points or 0.29% to 1,412.94; mining and oil improved by 18.81 points or 0.20% to 9,359.72; and services inched up by 1.88 points or 0.09% to close at 1,907.51.

Advancers beat decliners, 105 against 79, while 58 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers anew with P294.27 million in net outflows, a reversal of the P33.17 million in net purchases logged the previous day. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte with Reuters