PHL stocks lifted by last-minute bargain hunting

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By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX ended Monday’s session in green territory as bargain hunters pushed the market higher at the last minute of trading.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) increased 32.36 points or 0.51% to close at 6,347.43. The broader all shares index climbed 22.35 points or 0.6% to end at 3,706.90.

While it ended the session with gains, the PSEi was trading in red territory for most parts of Monday and fell as low as 6,249.47 before closing at its peak for the day.

Brokers said the weak sentiment can be attributed to renewed fear for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, as cases both locally and abroad have been rising in recent weeks.

“Buyers bought selectively into the local market… after the World Health Organization signaled that the coronavirus pandemic remains a deadly threat,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

“The market was trading mostly in the red zone as COVID-19 cases surged offshore, and here at home, it recorded another record high total daily cases last week, surpassing 30,000,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a text.

The virus has so far infected 8.95 million individuals across the world, where 468,331 have been killed, data from the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center showed.

This sparks fears that another lockdown might be on the way, disrupting recovery efforts with another shutdown of the economy, Ms. Alviar said.

The negative sentiment was sustained among foreign investors on Monday. Net foreign selling at the local bourse stood at P1 billion, albeit lower than the P2.06 billion in net outflows on Friday.

This means domestic investors propped up the PSEi, which Ms. Alviar said may be because of the gradual resumption of mass transit in Metro Manila.

“[W]e think that the second phase of the resumption of public transport boosted, somehow, the sentiment as investors were still pinned on the hopes for economic recovery,” she said.

Sectoral indices were mostly gainers. Industrials rose 129.29 points or 1.67% to 7,829.12; property picked up 46.77 points or 1.49% to 3,185.90; mining and oil increased 48.71 points or 0.97% to 5,031.87; financials improved 6.33 points or 0.50% to 1,256.89; and services climbed 6.57 points or 0.47% to close at 1,401.68.

The sole declining index was holding firms, which dipped 27.01 points or 0.40% to 6,572.76.

Value turnover stood at P7.33 billion with 1.21 billion issues switching hands.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 113 to 87. Some 47 names ended unchanged.