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PHL shares climb as investors pick up bargains

PHILIPPINE STOCKS extended their gains on Thursday on continued bargain hunting and as investors waited for more leads.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went up by 15.32 points or 0.23% to close at 6,622.45 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index added 9.82 points or 0.27% to end at 3,549.18.

“The PSE index ended today up by 15 points. Investors are still on the sidelines waiting for the US Federal Reserve’s decision on whether to increase rates or not,” Mercantile Securities Corp. Head Trader Jeff Radley C. See said in a Viber message on Thursday.

The US central bank’s next policy review is set on March 21-22.

At its Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 meeting, the Fed raised its target interest rate by 25 basis points (bps) to a range between 4.5% and 4.75%, bringing cumulative hikes since March 2022 to 425 bps.

“The local bourse gained by 15.32 points (0.23%) to 6,622.45 due to last-minute bargain hunting… However, many investors remained cautious as they are still worried over the elevated inflation. Based on the February inflation forecast of the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas), inflation may come higher than January’s 8.7%,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Analyst Claire T. Alviar said.

The BSP on Tuesday said February inflation likely settled within the 8.5% to 9.3% range in February. This would follow January’s 8.7% print, which was the quickest since November 2008.

If realized, February would mark the 11th straight month that inflation would exceed the BSP’s 2-4% target. The upper end of the forecast would also be the fastest pace recorded in more than 14 years or since the 9.7% seen in October 2008.

“The Philippine Stock Exchange index continued to correct higher for the second straight day after continued improvement in the income results for most listed companies recently that support valuations,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort added.

Almost all sectoral indices closed higher on Thursday. Mining and oil went up by 124.71 points or 1.15% to 10,891.15; property climbed by 28.82 points or 1.01% to 2,864.72; services gained 5.63 points or 0.34% to end at 1,619.83; industrials rose by 5.57 points or 0.05% to 9,532.94; and holding firms increased by 0.46 point to 6,394.05.

Meanwhile, financials declined by 4.80 points or 0.26% to 1,815.16.

Value turnover went up to P7.07 billion on Thursday with 1.36 billion shares changing hands from the P7 billion with 715.80 million issues traded on Wednesday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 96 versus 86, while 58 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling increased to P1.54 billion on Thursday from P579.52 million on Wednesday.

RCBC’s Mr. Ricafort placed the the PSEi’s major support at 6,250 and resistance at 7,000-7,100, while Mercantile Securities’ Mr. See put support at 6,368 to 6,657 and resistance at 6,763 to 7,000. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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