Philippine shares ended the trading week in positive territory as investors responded favorably to recent reports on the country’s lower inflation and unemployment rates.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 12.23 points or 0.21% to 5,785.09 while the broader all-shares index climbed 4.21 points or 0.12% to 3,493.73.

In a mobile phone message, PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said the market ended in the green as investors focused on favorable labor and inflation statistics.

“Latest unemployment figures are taken as a positive cue for investors to buy the market while the recent inflation rates imply that the national government’s stimulus efforts have not yet caused the prices of commodities to rise,” Mr. Lisbona said.

“The latest inflation rate also keeps the likelihood of the monetary tightening low for the meantime,” he added.

On Thursday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a 10% unemployment rate for the month of July, which is equivalent to 4.6 million jobless people.

The latest figure is higher compared with 5.4% in the same period last year. It is significantly lower than the record 17.7% in April this year.

PSA chief Claire Dennis S. Mapa said the easing of quarantine restrictions contributed to the current unemployment figures.

Meanwhile, the PSA reported on Friday that the country’s inflation rate eased to 2.4% in August, lower than the previous figure of 2.7% in July.

The PSA said the lower inflation rate was due to the decelerated price increases for the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said that aside from the unemployment figures and inflation rates, the local market rose on last-minute bargain hunting.

“Last-minute bargain-hunting lifted the bourse, up by 0.21%. Investors hunted bargains after the PSEi declined near the 5,700 support level,” Ms. Alviar said.

On Friday, most of the market’s sectoral indices declined except for property, which rose 46.25 points or 1.78% to 2,636.27 and holding firms at 35.35 points or 0.59% to 5,998.23.

Mining and oil dropped 170.65 points or 2.76% to 5,992.08; industrials shrank 82.35 points or 1.04% to 7,814.5; services declined 19.48 points or 1.32% to 1,455.41; and financials fell 5.27 points or 0.46% to 1,126.41.

Trading value was at P5.45 billion on Friday with 554.57 million shares changing hands, against Thursday’s P5.27 billion with 961.02 million shares.

Decliners outpaced advancers, 104 versus 77, while 51 names ended unchanged.

Net foreign selling dropped to P770.19 million against P1.12 billion during the previous day.

“We may have to observe next week if the market would hold above the support at the 5,700 area. Nearest resistance may be pegged at the 6,000 level,” Timson Securities, Inc. Head of Online Trading and Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a mobile phone message.

“We expect the market to move within 5,500 to 5,800 barring any shocks or surprises,” PNB’s Mr. Lisbona said.
Revin Mikhael D. Ochave