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PHL stocks climb as investors pick up bargains

PHILIPPINE shares closed higher on Thursday as investors went bargain hunting after four days of decline, although trading remained lackluster on fears over the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 100.41 points or 1.55% to close at 6,576.62 on Thursday, while the all shares index went up by 43.94 points or 1.09% to finish at 4,074.94.

“With Asian markets on the upside after solid US company earnings, local market followed on bargain hunting after four straight days down,” Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said in a text message.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan followed Wall Street higher and rose 1% with broad gains from Sydney to Seoul and Hong Kong, Reuters reported. Japanese markets are closed until Monday.

“The index took a breather today after plunging from the 6,900 level to the 6,400 level in less than two weeks. However, the rebound was not backed by heavy volume, and foreigners remained net sellers for the 13th consecutive session,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Junior Equity Analyst Lance U. Soledad said in a Viber message on Thursday.

“The lackluster trading despite the significant decline of the index suggests investors remain very cautious of the downside risks given the presence of the Delta variant,” Mr. Soledad said.

Value turnover declined to P3.69 billion with 1.4 billion issues traded on Thursday, from the P5.9 billion with 1.60 billion issues recorded on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, net foreign selling decreased to P338.64 million on Thursday from the P572.26 million seen on Wednesday.

The Health department yesterday reported 12 new local cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, bringing total infections to 47. Six of the new cases are from Central Luzon, while Metro Manila recorded three cases of the Delta variant, Calabarzon reported two cases, and one case was logged in Bicol.

All 12 new cases are said to have recovered, but the status is still being validated by regional and local health offices.

There are currently eight active cases of the Delta variant in the country, half of which are in Cagayan de Oro. Authorities from Cagayan de Oro on Thursday said four of the five Delta variant cases there reported last week were traced to a birthday party.

All sectoral indices posted gains on Thursday. Financials climbed by 40.39 points or 2.9% to 1,433.38; holding firms improved by 124.05 points or 1.92% to 6,583.74; mining and oil went up by 146.30 points or 1.54% to close at 9,599.07; industrials rose by 107.46 points or 1.17% to 9,253.26; property added 21.27 points or 0.68% to end at 3,107; and services inched up by 7.43 points or 0.48% to 1,551.10.

Advancers beat decliners, 136 versus 56, while 52 names closed unchanged. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte with Reuters

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