THE MAIN INDEX managed to stay above the 8,000 mark last week despite thin trading due to the official start of the Chinese “ghost” month alongside a lack of leads in both the local and international scene.

The 30-member bellwether index climbed 10.21 points or 0.12% to close at 8,015.14 on Friday.

Week on week, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dipped 0.02% or 1.59 points from its finish of 8,016.73 a week ago.

The main index remained in the 8,000 level for most of the week, despite dropping to 7,998.75 last Wednesday.

“The local equities market went up as investors went bargain hunting ahead of the long day weekend and the Jackson Hole meeting,” Bank of the Philippine Islands Asset Management and Trust Corp. said in a market note on Friday.

Trading was shortened to four days last week for a national holiday in commemoration of the assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. Local financial markets are once again closed today in celebration of National Heroes Day.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was silent on monetary policy changes in her speech during the annual meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last Friday, and instead focused on the US economy’s financial stability.

She said the reforms put in place after the 2007-2009 financial crisis have strengthened the financial system, without impeding economic growth.

Meanwhile, a speech by European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi gave little guidance on tapering the bank’s bond holdings and heralded globalization over protectionism.

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30.27 points or 0.14% to end at 21,813.67; the S&P 500 gained 4.08 points or 0.17% to 2,443.05 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.68 points or 0.09% to 6,265.64.

“In the absence of any surprises from Jackson Hole, the market may continue to trade in low volumes and with low volatility next week,” RCBC Securities, Inc. Jeffrey Lucero said in a text message.

Analysts also attributed the slower pace of the local market to the lack of catalysts following the official start of the ghost month last Aug. 22.

“I don’t see anything on site that would excite the market. For now, everything’s out, all we have to see is more foreign investors, more news coming in from the market, the issuer, that would perk the market strongly,” Summit Securities, Inc. President Harry G. Liu said by phone.

Foreign investors took a net selling position last week at P248.38 million, as the net outflow of P327.87 million on Aug. 24 offset the minimal inflows for most of the week.

The market saw an average value turnover of P5.68 billion, slightly up from the P5.47 billion generated in the week prior.

On average, 102 stocks advanced compared to 90 that declined. — Arra B. Francia with Reuters