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PHL shares climb on last-minute bargain hunting

SHARES closed higher on Thursday on last-minute bargain hunting and as the country recorded slightly lower new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases the previous day.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) rose by 18.37 points or 0.28% to close at 6,487.51 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index gained 10.46 points or 0.26% to end at 3,967.96.

“The local bourse traded mostly in the red territory after the government extended the MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) in Greater Manila, which would adversely affect those businesses that are prohibited to operate, as well as those whose operations are at a limited capacity only like restaurants, malls, etc,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message.

“Last-minute bargain hunting lifted the PSEi,” Ms. Alviar added.

Meanwhile, First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said the 6,300 level is “proving to be a strong support” for the PSEi.

“Narrow range trading continues in a show of market resiliency anchored on recovery hopes inspired by [the] International Monetary Fund’s 6.5% GDP (gross domestic product) growth outlook this year,” Ms. Ulang said in a separate Viber message.

AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John J. Mangun said the lower COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday made investors optimistic.

“[However,] trading volumes remain low which signals a lack of interest from investors due to the uncertainty and the lack of justification for high valuations,” Mr. Mangun said in an e-mail.

The Health department reported 6,896 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday. However, on Thursday, new cases rose to 8,276, which brought total infections to 1,028,738.

All sectoral indices posted gains on Thursday except for holding firms, which declined by 15.52 points or 0.23% to finish at 6,558.43.

Meanwhile, mining and oil increased by 251.22 points or 2.73% to end at 9,447.52; services climbed by 11.84 points or 0.82% to 1,455.52; property gained 22.99 points or 0.73% to 3,166.93; industrials rose by 34.95 points or 0.40% to close at 8,709.65; and financials went up by 4.29 points or 0.30% to 1,410.28.

Value turnover declined to P4.73 billion on Thursday with 4.23 billion shares traded, from the P5.31 billion with 2.91 billion issues the previous day.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 107 against 92, while 45 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling dropped to P394.39 million from the P617.51 million seen on Wednesday.

AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun said he expects the market to continue trading sideways in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, FMIC’s Ms. Ulang expects the PSEi to trade in a “narrow range” of 6,300 to 6,500.

“But next week with inflation tempering, relaxation of business reopening guidelines of flexible MECQ, plus arrival of vaccines, buying appetite toward bargain good names will return and provide a market uplift,” she said. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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