THE BENCHMARK Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) snapped a five-day losing streak on Thursday on the reported improvement in local unemployment data.

The main index picked up 34.47 points or 0.60% to close at 5,772.86, while the broader all shares index added 15.51 points or 0.44% to end at 3,489.52.

The country’s unemployment rate has slowed to 10% in July from a record 17.7% in April, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Thursday. This means the number of jobless Filipinos were reduced to around 4.6 million in July from 7.3 million in April, but still larger than the 2.4 million unemployed Filipinos in July 2019.

“This gives positive sentiment in the market since it is quite surprising, given the strict lockdown measures imposed during the second quarter,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a text message. “Given the latest data, it shows that businesses have slowly been recouping as community quarantine eased in July.”

The rise in US stocks on Wednesday also helped improve market sentiment during Thursday’s trading, Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices rose 1.59%, 1.54% and 0.98%, respectively.

“Stocks continued from a strong start to September… as traders took profits out of high-flying names like Apple and Tesla and snapped up shares in more beaten-down parts of the market,” Mr. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

Five out of six sectoral indices at the local bourse ended Thursday’s trading with gains: services grew 20.19 points or 1.38% to 1,474.89; financials increased 13.12 points or 1.17% to 1,131.68; industrials improved 59.12 points or 0.75% to 7,896.85; holding firms rose 29.61 points or 0.49% to 5,962.88; and mining and oil climbed 4.10 points or 0.06% to 6,162.73.

Property was the sole declining index, which lost 5.34 points or 0.20% to 2,590.02 at the end of session.

Value turnover stood at P5.27 billion with 961.02 million issues switching hands, down from the previous day’s P6.38 billion with 1.51 billion issues.

Advancers bested decliners, 105 against 77, while 48 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling was trimmed to P1.12 billion on Thursday from P1.64 billion on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Asian equities pared early gains on Thursday amid growing worries about Sino-US relations while the euro hit a one-week low as traders wagered on central bank action to tame the single currency, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan, which was up more than 0.5% earlier in the session, slipped 0.1% with Chinese and Hong Kong shares leading the losses. The Hang Seng fell 0.7% while China’s blue-chip index was 0.5% lower. — Denise A. Valdez with Reuters