By Denise A. Valdez, Senior Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX logged its best finish since March on Thursday as it extended its rally for a fourth consecutive day.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) surged 180.72 points or 2.79% to hit 6,644.77 at the close of trading. The broader all shares index likewise jumped 70.7 points or 1.83% to end at 3,919.31.

The PSEi opened at 6,477.16, which was already its low for the trading session. It reached a high of 6,702.75 intraday before inching down slightly at the session’s close.

Thursday’s finish marked the PSEi’s best since March 6’s close of 6,770.38, which was before the announcement of strict lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. The market again showed signs of recovery in June after the easing of quarantine rules in Metro Manila, with the PSEi’s previous peak logged at 6,583.84 June 9.

“The main index has broken above its main resistance of 6,580, its previous high last June,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail. “The pullback that we saw last week was extremely beneficial to the uptrend as it relieved selling pressure, allowing other investors to get in before the market continued higher.”

Apart from maintaining its current uptrend which has been going on since Oct. 30, the local bourse also saw foreign investors reversing to a net buying position on Thursday. The market recorded net purchases of P623.88 million, reversing Wednesday’s net outflows of P431.49 million and ending five days of selling.

“[M]ore and more investors gain confidence that the economy will see a strong rebound in the fourth quarter. A pick up in government and consumer spending is expected as we approach the Christmas season,” Mr. Mangun said.

Prospects that United States (US) presidential candidate Joe Biden would win the election also helped push investor optimism on Thursday, as a win for the Democrats may result in an easing of the trade war between US and China.

“We think that if Biden will win, US-China trade war would somehow be (pushed to the) sidelines and this would benefit the sentiment towards Asian markets including the Philippines,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Piper Chaucer E. Tan said in a text message.

Nearly all sectoral indices ended Thursday’s session with gains. Property grew 101.05 points or 3.27% to 3,184.47; holding firms rose 214.91 points or 3.17% to 6,976.65; financials climbed 30.11 points or 2.38% to 1,293.19; services added 24.49 points or 1.68% to 1,479.46; and industrials picked up 129.76 points or 1.49% to 8,833.91. The sole declining index was mining and oil, which dropped 22.48 points or 0.28% to end the session at 7,768.48.

Value turnover on Thursday stood at P10.18 billion with 5 billion issues switching hands, up from the previous session’s P7.25 billion with 2.34 billion issues.

Advancers outpaced decliners, 128 against 73. Some 53 names ended unchanged.