THE MAIN INDEX sustained its uptrend at the close of trading on Wednesday on last-minute bargain hunting amid expectations of further stimulus from the US government.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) increased 26.11 points or 0.47% to close at 5,581.96 yesterday. The broader all shares index likewise gained 11.65 points or 0.34% to 3,371.47.

“Philippines equities ended higher on last-minute bargain hunting as more talk of stimulus became a catalyst for the market,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

“(US Treasury Secretary) Steven Mnuchin plans to use all $500 billion the Treasury was allocated to help the economy, and is willing to take on more risk to do so,” he added.

This resulted in last-minute optimism that lifted the local bourse from trading lower at the start, which brought the PSEi as low as 5,518.52 for the day.

“Prior to the climb, the market has been in the negative territory for the most part of the trading day amid tempered hopes on Moderna’s experimental coronavirus vaccine,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said via text.

A report by health-focused media Stat raised questions on Moderna’s supposed success in testing its anti-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) drug, citing vaccine experts that the company failed to produce critical data for scientific assessment.

The report also noted the silence of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases on Moderna’s test, causing further speculation that the company’s announcement is unreliable.

Mr. Tantiangco said while the market ended Wednesday with gains, its climb may be unsustainable.“Looking at the overall market breadth, decliners still outnumbered advancers 88 to 84. Zooming into the index, losers still had the lead over gainers, 16 to 10, while 4 index members were unchanged.”

“Given that we only had a few selected stocks carrying the market compared to the number of losers, today’s climb could be unsustainable,” he said on Wednesday.

The top three gainers among PSEi members yesterday were Bank of the Philippine Islands (+3.15%), Globe Telecom, Inc. (+2.89%) and Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (+2.80%). Pulling the index down were Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. (-2.62%), Alliance Global Group, Inc. (-2.42%) and Universal Robina Corp. (-2.25%).

Of the sectoral indices, mining and oil climbed 51.91 points or 1.15% to 4,541.82; financials added 12.91 points or 1.15% to 1,134.48; holding firms picked up 58.52 points or 1.07% to 5,517.65; and property increased 10.11 points or 0.35% to 2,845.34.

On the other hand, industrials lost 94.13 points or 1.27% to 7,299.29; and services trimmed 3.63 points or 0.27% to 1,324.72.

Value turnover on Wednesday slid to P3.30 billion from P4.05 billion the previous day. Some 316.58 million issues switched hands. Net foreign selling dropped to P109.98 million from P417.76 million the previous day. — Denise A. Valdez