THE MAIN INDEX hit a new record high on Tuesday as investors remained optimistic amid mixed developments here and abroad.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) climbed 0.36 or 30.66 points to 8,398.04, just a few points away from the 8,400 mark.

The broader all-shares index climbed 0.26% or 12.79 points to 4,922.71.

“Despite disappointing reports, investors continue to ride on the wave of buying,” Astro C. del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Finance, Inc. said in a phone interview yesterday.

“This came from the reversal of the US with the Dow and S&P breaking their streak with just small losses yesterday,” said Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan in a mobile phone message.

Wall Street fell from record levels on Monday as gains in Microsoft and other technology stocks failed to offset a drop in General Electric and a slide in health care stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.06% to end at 22,761.07, while the S&P 500 lost 0.18% to 2,544.73.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.16% to 6,579.73.

On the domestic front, Mr. Limlingan cited trade data released yesterday as a driver for the market’s gains.

The Philippine Statistics Authority on Tuesday released data on August exports and imports. Exports in the eight months to August rose 13.3% to $42.11 billion from a year ago, while imports were up 8.2% at $59.15 billion from a year ago.

Meanwhile, factory output, as indicated by the volume of production index, grew 2.8% year on year, bucking the downswing of -1.1% in July, but lower than the 13.3% posted in the same month in 2016.

Counters finished mixed. Financials jumped 0.76% or 15.24 points to 2,017.06; holding firms went up 0.74% or 63.61 points to 8,626.28; and services inched up 0.05% or 0.94 point to 1,745.65. On the other hand, mining and oil slid 1.22% or 172.31 points to 13,846.83; property declined 0.24% or 9.66 points to 3,869.18; and industrials inched down 0.04% or 4.52 points to 11,097.08.

Losers outnumbered advancers at 103 to 91, while 51 issues were unchanged.

Value turnover expanded slightly to P7.17 billion from Monday’s P6.1 billion as 1.63 billion shares changed hands.

Foreigners turned buyers on Tuesday, with net purchases at P496.23 million from Monday’s net outflow worth P248.98 million

Meanwhile, other Southeast Asian stock markets trod water on Tuesday as investors steered clear of riskier assets ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting minutes on Wednesday, awaiting clues on the pace of future US rate increases.

Expectations that improved prospects for the US economy would prompt the Fed to raise interest rates later this year have led to the strengthening of the dollar over the past month. — JCL with Reuters