PSE index inches higher on easing virus worries

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By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX managed to stay up before trading closed on Thursday as investor worries over the novel coronavirus eased in favor of bargain hunting.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 20.02 points or 0.27% to end at 7,403.12 on Thursday. The broader all shares index inched up 1.78 points or 0.04% to 4,357.24.

“Local shares rose towards closing as investors tried to shake off concerns over how the coronavirus would impact corporate profits and the global economy,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a text message.

Deaths due to the novel coronavirus reached at least 1,357 people worldwide as of Wednesday night, CBS News reported yesterday, citing Chinese health officials. The number of confirmed cases also surged to more than 60,000 people across the globe.

Despite this, Mr. Limlingan said investors turned to bargain hunting in hopes that the economic impact of the virus would be subdued.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Piper Chaucer E. Tan agreed, and added the PSEi’s climb was also a result of selling off as the market came from a 52-week low of 7,129 to rally up to 7,500.

“The market respected the 7,500 resistance on a technical perspective,” Mr. Tan said in a text message. “Investors are looking for cues for corporate earnings and significant updates on the coronavirus.”

Listed firms are starting to report their financial performance for the fourth quarter and the full year 2019, which Mr. Tan said may likely be the major catalyst for the market in the coming weeks.

“I think that investors are on a wait-and-see mode as value turnover registered P4.77 billion, much lower than the P7-8 billion average value turnover of the market,” he said.

Some 978.23 million issues valued at P4.77 billion switched hands on Thursday, down from Wednesday’s 1.31 billion issues worth P6.07 billion.

Sectoral indices at the PSE ended mixed. Gainers were holding firms, which increased 61.64 points or 0.87% to 7,129.93; and financials, which added 8.25 points or 0.47% to 1,764.07.

On the other hand, property dropped 37.22 points or 0.92% to 3,995.26; mining and oil gave up 29.85 points or 0.41% to 7,102.85; industrial lost 31.97 points or 0.35% to 9,031.68; and services shed 2.16 points or 0.14% to 1,454.70 at the close of Thursday’s session.

Foreign investors were sellers on Thursday, with net foreign outflows ending at P528.74 million, a reversal of Wednesday’s net foreign buying of P241.31 million.

“Most investors are still on sidelines which proved to be the better strategy as the sentiment continues to deteriorate on fears of a much worse pandemic… The main index may end the week closer to the 7,475 resistance level,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said.