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PSE index inches higher on last-minute buying

THE benchmark index inched up after a volatile session on Wednesday due to last-minute bargain hunting as trading volume was muted due to the lack of fresh catalysts.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up by 0.97 point or 0.01% to close at 6,245.71 on Wednesday, while the all shares index gained 5.51 points or 0.14% to end at 3,852.90.

“The market fluctuated between gains and losses for the session and ended less than a point higher amid lack of catalysts,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Junior Equity Analyst Lance U. Soledad said in a Viber message.

Meanwhile, Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said the market eked out a small gain due to bargain hunting.

“The local bourse was again saved by the last-minute bargain hunting… The improving COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic situation in Greater Manila provides optimism in the market,” Ms. Alviar said in a separate Viber message.

Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said trading volume remained lower than average yesterday “due to the lack of catalysts in the local scene.”

Value turnover decreased to P4.83 billion on Wednesday with 1.56 billion issues traded, from the P6.19 billion with 2.63 billion shares that switched hands on Tuesday.

Coronavirus infections rose by 4,700 on Wednesday to bring the total to 1.159 million, based on data from the Department of Health.

This was lower than the average daily count seen in previous weeks and was also a stark improvement from the 10,000 cases seen almost every day in March, which had prompted the government to put parts of the country back under tighter restrictions.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the recommendation of an interagency task force to place National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under a general community quarantine with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31.

Meanwhile, active cases stood at 49,951 as of Wednesday from 52,291 on the previous day, while deaths were at 19,507. Recovered patients totaled 1.09 million.

Most sectoral indices declined on Wednesday except for industrials, which improved by 103.84 points or 1.22% to end at 8,583.82, and financials, which went up by 0.6 point or 0.04% to 1,380.18.

Meanwhile, property dropped by 17.18 points or 0.57% to 2,996.59; mining and oil declined by 42.15 points or 0.45% to end at 9,141.66; services went down by 2.88 points or 0.19% to finish at 1,461.27; and holding firms lost 5.54 points or 0.08% to 6,219.23.

Advancers trumped decliners, 115 versus 82, while 47 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling went down to P457.83 million on Wednesday from the P549.72 million in net outflows logged the previous trading day.

“We expect the index to range trade for now with immediate support at 6,200 and resistance at 6,400,” AB Capital Securities’ Mr. Soledad said. — K.C.G. Valmonte

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