PSEi inch up as investors scour for bargains

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LOCAL SHARES edged higher on Friday as some investors searched for bargains after days of descent.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 0.71% or 56.16 points to 7,932.82 on Friday.

“Philippine markets finally resumed a more aggressive bargain hunting mode with front runners EDC (Energy Development Corp.) and FGEN (First Gen Corp.) leading the way. All this, while US stocks were mixed…,” said Luis A. Limlingan, managing director at Regina Capital Development Corp.

Lopez-led First Gen Corp. entered into an agreement with Philippine Renewable Energy Holdings Corp., which is buying up to 31.7% of EDC, the country’s largest renewable energy company for P64.5 billion.

The 7.25-per-share offer price represents a 22.3% premium to EDC’s last 30-day volume weighted average market price of P5.93 with the offer to run from Aug. 10 to Sept. 18. The capital gained from the transaction will then be used to settle debt and support future growth, at the same time setting the stage for the EDC’s delisting of its shares from the bourse.

Shares in FGEN rose 6.13% at P18.36 apiece while that of EDC jumped 15.97% at P6.90 per share.

For Summit Securities, Inc. president Harry G. Liu said that the market remained soft during the previous days due to a “technical consolidation” with stocks continuing to move sideways.

Of the sectoral counters, only the mining and oil counter ended in red, dropping 0.10% or 12.32 points to end at 12,816.59.

The industrial counter surged 1.21% or 133.23 points to close at 11,159.15; holding firms went up 60.21 points (0.77%) to 7,881.11; property gained 19.3 points (0.52%) to 3,757.23; services inched up 1.03 points (0.06%) to finish 1,658.78 and financials gained 3.92 points (0.20%) to 1,969.47.

Decliners slightly outnumbered advancers with 101 to 93, while 50 others closed unchanged.

Value turnover stood at P6.36 billion yesterday, higher than the P5.74 billion on Thursday with 945.09 million shares changing hands.

For Summit Securities’ Mr. Liu, developments such as the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit, the government’s push for tax reforms and aggressive roll-out of infrastructure projects may push the stock market to once again hit the 8,000 mark in the third quarter of this year.

Net foreign buying persisted, clocking in at P18.11 million on Friday, lower than the prior trading day’s P135.67 million

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 9.86 points or 0.04% to a record 22,026.1; the S&P 500, meanwhile, slid 5.41 points or 0.22% to 2,472.16 and the Nasdaq Composite was flat at 6,340.34. — Maria Crisanta M. Paloma