SHARES bounced back on Wednesday even as investors found no clear catalysts to support their trades.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) climbed 0.46% or 36.15 points to close at 7,840.86 yesterday, snapping its two-day decline. The broader all-shares index also rose 0.27% or 13.16 points to 4,753.77.

“Investors continue to focus on second liners and speculative issues as foreign investors continue to sell off blue chips. Overall, the main index remains in limbo with no clear indication of which way it wants to go,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan noted that investors may be waiting for the release of August inflation data on Thursday, Sept. 5.

“Investors will be awaiting the latest CPI (consumer price index) data which comes out tomorrow morning. A handful of analysts forecast that the August reading will fall below the 2% mark,” Mr. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message on Wednesday.

A BusinessWorld poll of 12 economists yielded a median inflation estimate of 1.8% for August headline inflation. This is above the midpoint of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Department of Economic Research’s 1.3-2.1% estimate range given last week.

Should this be the case, August would mark the third straight month of easing inflation since June’s 2.7%. This is also much lower than the 6.4% seen in August 2018.

“The government is expecting inflation numbers for August at its lowest for the year which has not given investors any confidence towards equities. This trend may remain till the end of the week,” Mr. Mangun said.

Four sectoral indices moved to positive territory, led by mining and oil which jumped 3.22% or 304.47 points to 9,733.87. Holding firms climbed 1.37% or 106.52 points to 7,840.94; financials advanced 0.56% or 10.17 points to 1,805.15; while property added 0.27% or 10.69 points to 3,951.32.

In contrast, services plunged 1.52% or 24.22 points to 1,563.69, while industrials slumped 0.39% or 42.76 points to 10,872.88.

Some 1.15 billion issues switched hands valued at P6.59 billion, lower than the previous session’s P6.83-billion turnover.

Decliners narrowly outpaced advancers, 102 to 100, while 47 names were unchanged.

Foreign investors became net sellers at P743.70 million, compared to Tuesday’s net purchases amounting to P104.99 million.

The PSEi defied the weak performance of western markets, which suffered a selldown on fears of the US-China trade war as well as slower manufacturing data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.08% or 285.26 points to 26,118.02. The S&P 500 index shed 0.69% or 20.19 points to 2,906.27, while the Nasdaq Composite index plummeted 1.11% or 88.72 points to 7,874.16. — Arra B. Francia