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PSEi rises on improved labor, manufacturing data

THE main index climbed on Thursday following the release of data showing improvement in the country’s unemployment rate and manufacturing sector, which boosted expectations of a gradual economic recovery.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 62.10 points or 0.9% to close at 6,964.01 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index improved by 30.85 points or 0.72% to end at 4,275.43.

“With the decline in unemployment and underemployment last May and [the] improvement in factory output from 49.9 to 50.8 last June…, these manifest economic improvement, thus paving the way for the investors to buy in the local market,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message.

Preliminary results of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s May 2021 round of its Labor Force Survey released Thursday showed that the country’s unemployment rate was at 7.7% in May, down from the 8.7% recorded in April. This was the second-lowest unemployment rate recorded since the start of the year, following the 7.1% posted in March.

This was equivalent to 3.730 million jobless Filipinos in May, down from 4.138 million in April.

Meanwhile, manufacturing activity in the country expanded in June, bouncing back from two straight months of contraction, as demand and production picked up amid looser quarantine restrictions, the IHS Markit reported on Thursday.

The Philippine Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 50.8 last month from 49.9 in May. This is the first time the index went above the 50-neutral mark that separates contraction from expansion since March’s 52.2.

“Market’s approach to 7,000 has been met by mild selling as investors cashed in a portion of profits,” First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang added in a Viber message.

“Market conviction about economy’s eventual emergence from recession is gathering support from economic managers’ more than 10% GDP (gross domestic product) growth forecast for [the second quarter this year],” Ms. Ulang added. “This is what’s going to push the PSEi above 7,000 near term.”

All sectoral indices posted gains on Thursday. Mining and oil climbed 192.17 points or 2.01% to 9,736.04; holding firms went up by 78.90 points or 1.14% to 6,999.39; property improved by 35.37 points or 1.06% to 3,357.08; financials gained 15.59 points or 1.04% to finish at 1,514.13; industrials rose by 44.82 points or 0.46% to 9,674.91; and services inched up by 0.46 point or 0.02% to 1,591.26.

Value turnover surged to P13.52 billion on Thursday with 2.93 shares traded, from the P6.38 billion with 1.85 billion shares logged on Wednesday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 120 versus 81, while 49 names remained unchanged.

However, net foreign selling surged to P4 billion on Thursday from the P730.73 million logged the previous trading day. — K.C.G. Valmonte

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