PHILIPPINE SHARES bounced back on Thursday after days of closing in the red as investors picked up bargains.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 85.48 points or 1.23% to close at 7,032.54 on Thursday, while the all shares index climbed 38.12 points or 1.02% to 3,772.50.

“The local bourse ended higher today as bargain hunters picked up heavily battered shares after the past few days of moving lower. This is amid the volatility caused by the spread of the Omicron variant across the globe. Locally, the positive manufacturing report may have helped improve investor optimism today,” Darren Blaine T. Pangan, Trader at Timson Securities, Inc., said in a Viber message on Thursday.

Manufacturing activity rose to an eight-month high in November as new orders increased for the first time since March, IHS Markit said on Wednesday.

The Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 51.7 last month from 51 in October, the highest since the 52.2 in March. A reading above 50 indicates improving conditions for the manufacturing sector versus the previous month, and below the threshold means deterioration.

Meanwhile, Asian stocks and major currencies paused for breath on Thursday as markets struggled to find direction in the absence of solid information about the Omicron variant of the new coronavirus, Reuters reported.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.35%, supported by a 1.21% rise in Korea’s KOSPI on the back of a mini tech rally, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.27%.

“The Senate’s approval on the third and final reading of the 2022 national budget also helped in lifting sentiment,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research and Engagement Supervisor Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved on third and final reading the proposed P5.024-trillion 2022 national budget.

“The PSEi is also higher as the national vaccination program is extended in able to achieve herd immunity as early as this year,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

All sectoral indices ended in the green on Thursday. Mining and oil rose 213.46 points or 2.30% to end at 9,468.83; holding firms jumped 135.52 points or 2.02% to 6,842.19; industrials increased 168.89 points or 1.65% to 10,361.92; services went up 17.33 points or 0.90% to 1,930.10; property added 12.07 points or 0.38% to end at 3,143.94; and financials improved by 5.25 points or 0.34% to 1,537.98.

Value turnover soared to P9.04 billion with 844.79 million issues switching hands on Thursday from the 14.43 billion with 1.37 billion shares traded on Wednesday.

Advancers beat decliners, 111 against 78, while 50 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling decreased to P1.02 billion on Thursday from P1.25 billion on Wednesday.

Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said the PSEi’s support is at the 6,800 area and resistance is at 7,454.50. — M.C. Lucenio with Reuters