By Adrian H. Halili
PHILIPPINE stocks rose on Thursday on last-minute bargain hunting as investors digested the US Federal Reserve’s decision to pause interest rate increases.
The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up by 0.42% or 27.36 points to close at 6,461.42. The broader all-share index gained 0.2% or 7.03 points to 3,444.07.
“The index rose on market-on-close buying after investors considered the Federal Reserve’s move to keep its policy rate unchanged,” Juan Paolo E. Colet, managing director at China Bank Capital Corp., said in a Viber message.
“Sentiment was also helped by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks that he still sees a path to a soft landing for the US economy,” he added.
Foreign investors were more optimistic about the recent developments, “as net foreign buying was around P245 million, while local investors were net sellers,” Mr. Colet said. “The market must hold the 6,400 support level to avoid downward pressure.”
Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research and Engagement Officer Mikhail Philippe Q. Plopenio attributed the index gains to last-minute bargain hunting.
“Throughout the day, the bourse traded in the red territory before a last-minute push that aided it to a positive close,” he said in a Viber message.
Investors had also digested the results of the US central bank’s recent meeting where it held its rates steady, but signaled two more rate hikes for the rest of the year.
“The market fell below the 6,400 intraday support level before bargain hunters came in, eventually lifting it above the level before closing,” Mr. Plopenio said.
The US Fed kept interest rates unchanged at 5-5.25% but signaled in new projections that borrowing costs might still need to rise by as much as half-a-percentage point by year-end, Reuters reported.
Back home, sectoral indices were split on Thursday. Property rose by 1.42% or 36.89 points to 2,621.98, while financials increased by 0.78% or 14.32 points to 1,845.73. Holding firms gained 0.31% or 20.01 points to 6,420.65.
Meanwhile, services declined by 0.98% or 14.85 points to 1,497.53, while mining and oil slid by 0.93% or 92.92 points to 9,857.96. Industrials fell by 0.08% or 8.02 points to 9,201.31.
Value turnover decreased to P6.1 billion, with 1.11 billion shares changing hands. Advancers outnumbered decliners, 93 to 91, while 31 stocks were unchanged.
Net foreign buying was P244.81 million from P533.22 million in net selling on Tuesday.