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Main index up on bargain hunting after 3-day slide


THE MAIN INDEX inched up on Thursday to end its three-day slide on bargain hunting and ahead of the release of local and US economic data.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) climbed by 4.63 points or 0.07% to close at 6,588.28 on Thursday. Meanwhile, the broader all shares index went down by 2.68 points or 0.07% to 3,498.04.

“Local stocks turned lower as renewed pressures on interest rates dampened investors’ appetite. On the local front, buying interest was tempered by worries on domestic inflation,” AB Capital Securities, Inc. Vice-President and Head of Research Jovis Vistan said in a Viber message.

Mr. Vistan said inflation “is unlikely to be at the lower end of the range as we are now experiencing shortages in sugar, salt, garlic and other food items.”

“The PSEi has narrowly escaped a potential three-day rout on bargain hunting but overall sentiment remains cautious, as evidenced by the market breadth in which decliners have outnumbered advancers,” AP Securities Inc. Equity Research Analyst Carlos Angelo O. Temporal said in a Viber message.

Decliners outnumbered advancers on Thursday, 87 versus 96, while 46 names closed unchanged.

Mr. Temporal said that investors remain cautious ahead of the release of the latest US jobs report this Friday and the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) consumer price index (CPI) report next week, as well as the peso’s continued decline.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects headline inflation to have settled within 5.9% to 6.7% in August as food prices continued to rise. If realized, this would exceed the central bank’s 2-4% target for the fifth straight month.

The PSA is set to release the August CPI report on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Meanwhile, the peso sank to P56.42 a dollar on Thursday, losing 27.5 centavos from Wednesday’s finish of P56.145.

This is the local unit’s worst close in almost 18 years or since its P56.45 finish on Oct. 14, 2004, which is the peso’s record low.

The majority of sectoral indices closed higher on Thursday except for property, which declined by 62.45 points or 2.06% to 2,962.46; and services, which went down by 9.48 points or 0.56% to 1,667.47.

Meanwhile, holding firms climbed by 70.75 points or 1.14% to 6,270.94; mining and oil went up by 92.54 points or 0.79% to 11,724.12; financials increased by 8.69 points or 0.54% to 1,615.54; and industrials added 19.50 points or 0.20% to close at 9,758.94.

Value turnover decreased to P5 billion on Thursday with 635.98 million shares changing hands from the P8.87 billion with 1.45 billion issues seen on Wednesday.

Foreigners turned buyers anew with P115.14 million in net purchases on Thursday from the P287.46 million in net sales seen the previous day.

AB Capital Securities’ Mr. Vistan put the PSEi’s support at 6,480 and resistance at the 6,650 level. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

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