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Shares climb on bargain hunting ahead of data

PHILIPPINE shares posted gains on Monday on last-minute buying and as investors went bargain hunting ahead of the central bank’s release of latest remittance data.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went up by 14.22 points or 0.22% to close at 6,283.58 on Monday, while the all shares index gained 10.43 points or 0.27% to end at 3,861.41.

“The PSEi managed to inch higher on last-minute buying, similar to last Friday’s trading,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail.

Mr. Mangun said market sentiment remained subdued, but there is now “more buying at the cheaper levels.”

“Investors are still very [cautious], but some traders are taking [advantage] by scooping up shares of companies that have been heavily oversold,” he added.

“Investors [are] doing slow accumulation on bargain hunting [because] you [have] cheap PSEi member stocks whose PE (price-to-earnings ratio) are near or even lower than their 10-year low but whose [first-quarter] earnings were above estimates and therefore currently unfairly priced,” First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message.

“Philippine investors are also awaiting the release of overseas remittances and foreign reserves [data] this year for market cues,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a separate Viber message.

Cash remittances from overseas Filipino workers rose by 4.9% to $2.514 billion in March from $2.397 billion in the same month last year, according to data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) after the stock market closed on Monday.

For the first quarter, cash remittances climbed by 2.6% year on year to $7.593 billion.

The BSP sees remittances growing by 4% this year versus last year’s 0.8% drop.

Most sectoral indices posted gains on Monday except for holding firms, which went down by 82.61 points or 1.3% to 6,262.26; and financials, which lost 4.11 points or 0.29% to finish at 1,395.19.

Meanwhile, property climbed by 106.31 points or 3.6% to 3,054.72; services went up by 6.65 points or 0.46% to 1,441.12; mining and oil increased by 24.51 points or 0.27% to 9,095.53; and industrials improved by 15.27 points or 0.17% to end at 8,573.98.

Value turnover went down to P5.02 billion on Monday with 2.31 billion shares switching hands, from the P11.06 billion seen on Friday with 4.18 billion issues traded.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 99 versus 85, while 58 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned sellers anew, logging P354.07 million in net outflows on Monday versus the P2.04 billion in net purchases seen on Friday.

FMIC’s Ms. Ulang said she expects a “flattish market” this week, while AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun said stocks may move higher in the coming sessions. — K.C.G. Valmonte

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