By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

STOCKS barely moved on Friday amid a dearth of news from listed companies that left the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ending the week closing higher by only 0.07% or 5.7 points to 7,824.59 from Thursday.

“Shares traded flat as investors weighed potentially positive news about the US-China trade talks against concerns over possible repercussions should President Donald Trump sign legislation expressing support for protestors in Hong Kong,” said Luis A. Limlingan, business development head at Regina Capital Development Corp.

The broader all-shares index also closed slightly higher at 4,679.04, inching up by 0.18% or 8.28 points from the previous day.

“Vice-Premier Liu He cited in early Asian hours the day before that he was cautiously optimistic about the prospect of a deal,” Mr. Limlingan said.

“China’s commerce ministry also said that China will strive to reach an initial trade agreement with the US,” he said, adding that late in the day “news surfaced that China had invited American negotiators to Beijing for a face-to-face talks.”

Four of the six sector indices managed to close higher. Only the mining and oil index came out strong with a 2.39% or 190.82-point improvement to close at 8,175.43. Services followed by advancing 0.46% or 7.17 points to 1,549.70, trailed by industrial stocks’ 0.31% or 30.95-point rise to 9,911.62. Holding firms were flat at 7,756.93, higher by 0.02% or 1.78 points from the day earlier.

Two sub-indices slipped: financials by 6.16 points or 0.32% to 1,874.13 and property by 2.04 points or 0.05% to 4,033.22.

In value, total trading was down four percent to P5.49 billion from P5.72 billion previously. About 384.17 million shares changed hands, or nearly half the previous day’s volume turnover of 781.11 million.

Foreigners were net sellers for the fourth day in a row with P642.36 million worth of shares as their selling of P3.73 billion outpaced their buying at P3.09 billion.

DFNN, Inc. was Friday’s top gainer as it closed higher b 12.35% or P0.63 to P5.73 per share. Jolliville Holdings Corp. and Benguet Corp. “A” were the other biggest upward movers during the session.

Manila Broadcasting Corp. was the biggest loser as it gave up 17.72% of its share price to close lower by P2.52 to P11.70 apiece. A Brown Co., Inc. and SOCResources, Inc. round out Friday’s top three losers.

Still, the trading day closed with more advances at 90 as against declines of 88. A total of 58 stocks finished unchanged.

Among the few companies that disclosed updates of their projects were Ayala-led AC Energy Philippines, Inc., which said the estimated 60-megawatt capacity of its solar power plant project in Palauig, Zambales would cost around $37 million and funded by equity. “Project completion is expected in 2020. The plant will likely be operated as a merchant plant, delivering power to the grid at spot market rates,” AC Energy Philippines said.

The project will be led by AC Energy Development, Inc. through a wholly owned project company, Gigasol 3, Inc.

Meanwhile, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. said its board in a meeting on Friday had approved the creation of a new wholly owned subsidiary to handle its road transport business. The independent oil company said it would investing corporate funds in the unit amounting to P57 million “in whole or in part as initial capitalization.”