Shares nosedive as NCR returns to lockdown amid Delta variant threat

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30) — Local shares plunged further on Friday as Metro Manila faced tighter quarantine measures due to the threat of the Delta coronavirus variant - sending jitters among investors.

All indices were in the red as the Philippine Stock Exchange index finished at 6,270.23 - down 3.48% or 226.30 points from Thursday's close.

"That's the biggest for 2021 so far," AAA Equities head of research Chris Mangun told CNN Philippines regarding the plunge. "The last time the market was down (like that) was in April of last year."

He also described it as pandemic uncertainty striking again.

"Nobody is confident enough or optimistic enough to say that we're gonna be out of this in a few months," Mangun said.

Malacañang announced on Friday that the National Capital Region will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) with "heightened and additional" restrictions until August 5. It will then return to the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20.

Some investors "kept to cash to assess the impact of reverting to ECQ after a week," Regina Capital managing director Luis Limlingan said, noting establishments will have to adjust once again - particularly restaurants and other dining businesses.

Philippine stocks also nosedived on Monday to the 6,300 territory due to fears over the highly contagious variant - with investors also uncertain with President Rodrigo Duterte's final State of the Nation Address. 

CNN Philippines correspondent Melissa Lopez contributed to this report.