STOCKS climbed on Monday on last-minute buying as the market remained on edge amid inflation concerns.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up by 9.52 points or 0.13% to close at 7,134.36 on Monday, while the broader all shares went up by 7.46 points or 0.19% to close at 3,782.05.

“Last-minute buying sent the local market higher this Monday. For the most part of the day, however, the local bourse was in the negative territory as investors booked gains from its preceding four-day rally,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said in a Viber message.

“Inflation concerns also resurfaced amid the anticipated increase in local fuel prices by Tuesday. The lethargic trading shows that many are staying on the sidelines due to the lingering uncertainties,” Mr. Tantiangco added.

Oil companies announced they would raise the prices of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene products by P3.40 per liter, P8.65 per liter, and P9.40 per liter, respectively, effective on Tuesday.

The central bank last week said average inflation could breach the 2-4% target range this year at 4.3%, higher than the previous forecast of 3.7% while average inflation is expected to decline and settle at 3.6% in 2023.

“Philippine shares were bought up ahead of the quarter end and a series of key economic data releases while the street keeps a watchful eye on the Fed’s planned interest rate hikes,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell last week signaled at more aggressive rate hikes this year to fight surging inflation.

Majority of sectoral indices ended in the red except for industrials, which gained by 80.80 points or 0.84% to 9,648.35, and holding firms, which rose by 32.37 points or 0.47% to 6,816.36.

Meanwhile, mining and oil fell by 112.26 points or 0.87% to 12,769.23; services dropped by 8.69 points or 0.45% to 1,923.09; property went down by 8 points or 0.24% to 3,328.76; and financials declined by 1.92 points or 0.11% to 1,673.35.

On the other hand, the PSE MidCap Index ended at 1,195.49 up by 0.39 point or 0.03% while the PSE Dividend Yield Index went down by 0.56 point or 0.03% to 1,708. The two new thematic indices were launched on Monday to highlight mid-sized companies and firms that consistently give high-yielding dividends, as well as provide benchmarks for fund managers. (see related story on page S1/1)

Value turnover decreased to P5.19 billion with 768.14 million shares changing hands from P5.48 billion or 599.16 million issues seen on Friday.

Decliners outweighed advancers, 94 versus 77, while 55 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned buyers with P185.89 million in net purchases on Monday from P40.22 million in net outflows seen on the previous trading day. — L.M.J.C. Jocson with Reuters