By Joann Villanueva 

MANILA – The peso firmed up against the US dollar Monday, but the main stocks index ended on the negative territory due to anxieties as coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases post new highs globally.

The local unit ended the week’s first trading day at 49.855 from 49.92 Friday last week.

It opened the day 49.92, sideways from its 50.00 start in the previous session.

It traded between 49.95 and 49.81, resulting in an average of 49.851.

Volume totaled to USD819.22 million, higher than the previous session’s USD738.2 million.

“US dollar-peso continues to remain stable as (the) dollar weakens in the global market and dollar demand remains nil,” BDO chief investment strategist Jonathan Ravelas told PNA in a Viber message Monday.

Ravelas said risks remain on the uptrend due to rising number of infections, as economies continue to reopen after weeks in lockdown to contain the virus spread.

On the other hand, after posting a recovery last Friday, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 1.40 percent, or 86.66 points, to 6,105.18 points.

It was followed by all the other counters, with the All Shares down by 0.94 percent, or 34.29 points, to 3,596.86 points.

Financials counter posted the highest drop among the sectors with 2.76 percent, and was trailed by the Holding Firms, 2.04 percent; Services, 0.83 percent; Mining and Oil, 0.43 percent; Industrial, 0.17 percent; and Property, 0.09 percent.

Volume totaled to over 1 billion shares amounting to PHP5.55 billion.

Decliners surpassed advancers at 142 to 63, while 44 shares were unchanged.

Ravelas said the main gauge improved last Friday after the unexpected 50 basis points cut in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) key policy rates the previous day.

He said market players were surprised by the Monetary Board’s (MB) decision and was “calmed a bit” from concerns on the health crisis, which has also greatly affected global economies.

For this week, Ravelas said the rising Covid-19 cases remain among the risks thus, the projection that the main gauge will range between 6,000 to 6,500-level. (PNA)