THE MAIN INDEX inched further past the 8,000 mark on Friday, keeping in step with major Asian peers as investors awaited signals from central bankers meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA this weekend.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) finished the week with an increase of 0.13% or 10.21 points to end 8,015.14, while the broader all-shares index likewise climbed 0.19% or 9.26 points to 4,749.06. PSEi had slipped back into 8,000 territory last Thursday.

“The lack of catalysts as well as the ghost month is keeping market volume low. There’s not much movement in the market today that could really merit a discussion. Investors may have stayed on the sidelines ahead of central bank’s speeches at Jackson Hole,” RCBC Securities, Inc. analyst Jeffrey Lucero said in a text message.

For his part, UPCC Securities Corp. equity trader Aristotle D. Reyes, Jr. attributed the market’s movement to the Aug. 22-Sept. 19 “ghost month” during which, Chinese tradition states, investors should hold off from making major decisions.

“The market will continue to trade sideways due to lack of catalyst. Investors are still wary about the ghost month effect, though for us it’s a window of opportunity for our clients,” Mr. Reyes said.

Wall Street had ended Thursday on a bearish note, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.13% or 28.69 points to 21,783.40, the Nasdaq Composite Index dropping 0.11% or 7.08 points to 6,271.33 and the S&P 500 Index losing 0.21% or 5.07 points to 2,438.97.

Most Asian markets went the other direction on Friday, with the Nikkei 225, TOPIX Index, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and Shanghai-Shenzhen’s CSI 300 Index rising 0.51%, 0.30%, 1.20% and 1.64%, respectively, though the S&P/ASX 200 and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific gave up 0.03% and 0.05%, respectively.

Four of PSEi’s sectoral indices ended Friday with gains: holding firms increased by 0.42% or 33.04 points to close 7,87924; mining and oil sector followed at 13,056.70, up by 0.31% or 40.62 points; services rose 0.27% or 4.71 points to 1,723.93; while property increased 0.04% or 1.55 points to 3,766.26.

On the other hand, financials lost 0.28% or 5.66 points to end 1,991.49, while the industrial counter shed 0.08% or 8.34 points to 11,128.73.

A total of 1.774 billion worth P6.25 billion changed hands, compared to Thursday’s 1.283 billion worth P4.639 billion.

Advancing and declining stocks were equally split at 97 each, while 48 issues were unchanged.

Friday saw the second straight day of net foreign buying, though the amount fell 65% to P17.516 million from Thursday’s P49.974 million.

Stocks that advanced included MRC Allied Corp. and Century Properties Group, Inc. as well as cement firms Cemex Holdings Philippines, Inc. and Eagle Cement Corp. with increases of 5.45% to P0.29 apiece, 3.77% to P0.55, 3.75% to P6.37 and 3.31% to P15.60 each, respectively.

Shares in LBC Express Holdings, Inc.; Max’s Group., Inc. and Ginebra San Miguel, Inc. were among stocks that declined, losing 2.52% to P15.50 each, 2.07% to P18.90 and 2.78% to P14 each, respectively. – Arra B. Francia