Bargain hunting propels PSEi past 8,000 mark

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THE Philippine Stock Exchange — PHOTO BY SANTIAGO J. ARNAIZ

LAST-MINUTE bargain hunting drove the local main index to climb on Thursday to surpass the 8,000 mark anew.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 99.14 points or 1.24% to 8,043.07 yesterday. The wider all-shares index edged up 45.11 points or 0.93% to 4,858.82.

Timson Securities, Inc. equity trader Jervin S. de Celis said the index closed higher yesterday after investors resorted to last-minute buying that lifted the index above the 8,000 level.

“This was partially due to the deals closed by our government with China which were valued at $9 billion,” Mr. De Celis said in a mobile message on Thursday.

For his part, Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan noted via text that investors were on a wait-and-see approach as they “assessed rising geopolitical tensions.”

“Philippine stocks managed to reverse the trend it has been experiencing over several days despite US stocks ending lower on Wednesday…” Mr. Limlingan said.

Mr. Limlingan cited the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting, which reflected a hawkish Fed that is set to raise interest rates more times this year, as widely expected by investors.

However, data released yesterday showed the US consumer price index fell for the first time in 10 months in March, dropping 0.10% from a month earlier due to the decline in the cost of gasoline.

While the weaker-than-expected economic data may cause the US Federal Reserve to reassess its planned interest rate hikes this year, it “probably urged foreign investors to buy local stocks at bargain prices today despite the slump in our neighboring markets,” according to Timson Securities’ Mr. De Celis.

All counters saw gains on Thursday. Mining and oil led the charge, surging 354.41 points or 3.25% to 11,244.95; property gained 60.64 points or 1.68% to 3,668.13; financials went up 31.15 points or 1.55% to 2,033.84; services rose 22.98 points or 1.41% to 1,649.57; industrials increased 93.42 points or 0.83% to 11,351.64; and holding firms climbed 51.55 points or 0.63% up to 8,142.13.

Trading volume expanded to 1.45 billion valued at P5.94 billion on Thursday, lower than the P6.52 billion logged the previous day.

Advancers outnumbered losers 108 to 94 while 45 names were unchanged.

Foreigners turned net buyers on Thursdays after four straight trading sessions of dumping shares. Net purchases stood at P152.80 million as compared with Wednesday’s P627.37 million.

Meanwhile, most Southeast Asian stock markets eased on Thursday as worries of potential US military action in Syria soured risk appetite.

Broader Asian shares fell after Wall Street fell overnight as US President Donald Trump warned Russia on Wednesday of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack, raising the prospect of direct conflict over Syria between the two world powers backing opposing sides in the seven-year-old civil war. — J.C. Lim with Reuters