LOCAL EQUITIES managed to post gains on Wednesday to recover some of its losses the other day that broke the momentum it built from three straight days of record high finishes.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) advanced by 56.62 points or 0.69% to close at 8,219.32. The wider all-shares index also gained 25.83 points or 0.53% to finish at 4,854.04.

“After the sharp drop yesterday, the market partially recovered today as foreign funds were net buyers,” Miguel A. Agarao, vice-president of Philequity Management, Inc., said on Wednesday.

Foreigners bought more shares at P3.93 billion as against the P3.55 billion they sold, resulting in a net buying of P380.43 million, a reversal of Tuesday’s net selling of P272.03 million.

“News of tax reform being passed by the Senate with at least P130 billion in net revenues also increased bullishness in Philippine stocks,” Mr. Agarao said.

The Senate committee on ways and means approved the first package of the government’s tax reform program yesterday.

“Philippine markets resumed their bargain-hunting mode as Wall Street eked out higher in a quiet session,” said Luis A. Limlingan, business development head at Regina Capital Development Corp.

He said US equities had risen on Tuesday as the Federal Reserve had kicked off a two-day monetary policy meeting. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will have its own meeting on Thursday. “Investors will also be buying ahead of the anticipated outcome,” he said.

Among sectoral indices, the property counter registered the biggest gain at 43.53 points or 1.10% to finish at 3,967.03. Holding firms followed with a gain of 81.7 points or 1.01% to finish at 8,142.82. Services and industrials also ended the session in the green, gaining 0.73% (12.54 points) and 0.03% (4.29 points), respectively, to close at 1,720.2 and 11,341.16.

Financials as well as mining and oil gave up 0.06% and 0.21%, respectively, to end at 1,982.86 and 13,926.28.

Value turnover was at P7.09 billion, lower than the previous day’s P8.91 billion, with 2.16 billion shares changing hands.

Gainers narrowly outnumbered losers at 107 to 106, while 42 issues finished unchanged.

BDO Unibank, Inc. was the most active stock on Wednesday, followed by Ayala Land, Inc. and Jollibee Foods Corp.

The other day, news that Jollibee was planning to acquire London-based food company Pret a Manger broke, a report which the local fastfood chain replied to on the same day. It said it had not given a bid for acquisition to any company either formal or informal. It also did not mention the name of any company. It added that it “keeps looking for opportunities for new business acquisitions as a matter of ongoing practice.” Jollibee shares slipped by 0.82% on Wednesday to close at P242 each.

Alliance Global Group, Inc. and Ayala Corp. completed the top five most active stocks yesterday. — V.V. Saulon