By Vincent Mariel P. Galang, Reporter

LOCAL SHARES closed in on 8,200 on Friday — fueled partly by a return of net foreign buying — but failed to hit that level and finished lower at the end of the session amid lack of sufficient leads to sustain the lift.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 12.67 points or 0.15% to finish at 8,141.82 — still up 0.29% from July 5’s 8,117.94 finish — after opening 0.06% stronger at 8,159.63 and hitting a high of 8,197.52 before closing at the day’s low.

The all-shares index gave up 13.27 points or 0.26% to close at 4,944.7.

“It almost looked as if the index was going to break the 8,200 mark as the PSEi traded strongly throughout the day. A strong sell-down at the close prevented this from happening however, with the PSEi closing 12 points in the red at 8,141.82,” Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez said in an e-mail on Friday.

At the same time, Mr. Perez said that “[w]ith the index maintaining its foothold above the 8,139 recent breakout level by just a few points, the trek to 8,200 in the near term is still very much alive.”

Jervin S. de Celis, equity trader at the Timson Securities, Inc., noted that the 2.04% drop to P960 apiece in price of SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) weighed on PSEi since it has one of the heaviest weights in the index.

“Our index retested the 8,200 resistance that it touched last Feb. 6…” Mr. de Celis said in a mobile phone message.

“Although the PSEi stayed positive during the day, it closed in the red and trailed the muted US market session last night and it was also dragged by the two percent drop in SM Investments after it failed to breach its resistance at P1,000.”

Reuters reported that Wall Street rose on Thursday as health insurers gained after the Trump administration scrapped a plan designed to rein in prescription drug prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.85% to 27,088.08 and the S&P 500 added 0.23% to 2,999.91, while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated by 0.08% to 8,196.04.

Among major Asian markets on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 went up 42.37 points or 0.20% to 21,685.90, Shanghai Composite gained 12.79 points or 0.44% to 2,930.55, South Korea’s KOSPI Index added 6.08 points or 0.29% to 2,086.66 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased by 46.33 points or 0.14% to 28,471.62.

Back home, the six sectoral indices were equally divided between those that gained and those that lost.

Sectoral indices that went up consisted of financials (22.61 points or 1.28% to close at 1,788.79), mining and oil (39.47 points or 0.53% to 7,437.16) and services (5.75 points or 0.34% to 1,693.65).

Those that lost consisted of holding firms (54.74 points or 0.7% to 7,758.23), industrials (62.55 points or 0.52% to 11,791.25) and property (14.57 points or 0.32% to 4,423.93).

Friday’s list of 20 most active stocks showed six that ended in red. Besides SMIC, they were: SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (-2.3% to P38.30 apiece); GMA Holdings, Inc. (PDR — -1.65% to P5.37); Security Bank Corp. (-0.44% to P179); Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (-0.42% to LP4.78) and Jollibee Foods Corp. (-0.21% to P280.40 each).

Those that gained were led by Filinvest Land, Inc. (6.11% to P1.91 apiece); Megaworld Corp. (3.79% to P6.30); GT Capital Holdings, Inc. (2.86% to P900); BDO Unibank, Inc. (2.21% to P148.20); Robinsons Land Corp. (1.85% to P27.50); Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (1.25% to P72.90) and Bank of the Philippine Islands (1.06% to P81.05 each).

Stocks that gained outnumbered those that lost 108 to 82, while 52 others ended flat.

Trade volume increased to 3.387 billion shares worth P6.864 billion on Friday from Thursday’s 1.273 billion shares worth P6.094 billion.

Overseas investors returned to buying mode, resulting in P419.491 million in net buying on Friday that was a turnaround from Thursday’s P253.726-million net selling.