By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX ended its three-day losing streak on Thursday, lifted by activity from bargain hunters, but still failed to break into the 7,000 level.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) picked up 58 points or 0.83% to 6,967.84 yesterday, while the broader all shares index added 20.30 points or 0.49% to 4,149.67.

“Local shares held onto earlier gains even as investors braced for potentially another day of losses on Wall Street sparked by the spread of the coronavirus epidemic outside of China,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads to more countries and infects more people, the US Food and Drug Administration has warned the country is “on the cusp of the pandemic,” Bloomberg reported yesterday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indices closed 0.46% and 0.38% lower on Wednesday, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.17%.

“Investors are starting to dismiss the possibility of a global economic recovery from easing US-China trade tensions as the virus remains out of control,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail.

For Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar, the growth in the local bourse is attributable to bargain hunting.

“PSEi had a technical rebound…as bargain hunters positioned in the market after the selloff in the last three trading days,” she said in a text message. “Investors participation is still decent, with value turnover of P8.45 billion, much higher than year-to-date average of around P6.00 billion, showing conviction of buyers to pick up some shares at a bargain level.”

Some 682.76 million issues valued at P8.45 billion switched hands yesterday, down from Wednesday’s 1.35 billion issues worth P10.06 billion.

Most sectoral indices ended in green territory. Financials rose 20.95 points or 1.27% to 1,670.51; property climbed 40.29 points or 1.09% to 3,737.10; services added 11.27 points or 0.82% to 1,381.55; holding firms went up 29.44 points or 0.43% to 6,790.83; and industrials increased 14.95 points or 0.17% 8,431.17. Mining and oil was the sole decliner, losing 16.75 points or 0.24% to 6,753.57 at the close of Thursday’s session.

Decliners edged out advancers, 95 against 91, while 45 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling was trimmed to P1.40 billion yesterday from P3.08 billion on Wednesday.

“The PSEi is currently down 3.2% for the week despite today’s gains. Markets across the globe remain weak and we expect our local bourse to reflect the same sentiment,” AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun said.

“We may see it continue lower in the medium term and lean against the 6,800 support level,” he added.