SHARES continued to climb on Thursday as the United States and other countries are set to discuss a possible release of oil reserves to help bring down global fuel prices that have been climbing due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up by 36.45 points or 0.50% to close at 7,203.47 on Thursday, while the broader all shares went up by 17.08 points or 0.45% to 3,811.83.

“The PSEi was on a volatile ride but today’s gains underscore market focus on the oil price drop, as Washington plans to release massive oil from its strategic reserves plus Ukraine-Russia ceasefire talks restarting this week,” First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message.

“Investors bought into the Philippine market to end the first quarter of 2022 while keeping a watchful eye on developments in Ukraine and the waning signs of progress for peace talks with Russia,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

The Biden administration is considering releasing up to 180 million barrels of oil over several months from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, four US sources said on Wednesday, as the White House tries to lower fuel prices, Reuters reported.

The International Energy Agency member countries are also set to meet on Friday at 1200 GMT to decide on a collective oil release, a spokesperson for New Zealand- energy minister said in an email, aimed at calming global crude prices that scaled 14-year high this month amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Oil prices have surged since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February and the United States and allies responded with hefty sanctions on Russia — the No.2 exporter of crude.

Russia is among the top three oil producers and accounts for about 14% of the world’s total supply.

Majority of the sectoral indices ended in the green except for property, which fell by 21.79 points or 0.65% to 3,315.15.

Meanwhile, holding firms climbed by 70.25 points or 1.02% to 6,905.12; financials rose by 13.19 points or 0.78% to 1,694.89; industrials gained 66.19 points or 0.68% to 9,800.04; services went up by 12.93 points or 0.66% to 1,953.33; and mining and oil increased by 46.95 points or 0.37% to 12,440.47.

The MidCap index added 9.65 points or 0.81% to close at 1,202.84, while the Dividend Yield index rose by 16.08 points or 0.95% to 1,709.83.

Value turnover increased to P7.81 billion with 1.49 million shares changing hands from P6.87 billion or 719.59 million issues seen on Wednesday.

Advancers beat decliners, 110 versus 83, while 49 names closed unchanged.

Foreigners turned buyers with P221.50 million in net purchases on Thursday from P48.90 million in net sales seen the previous trading day. — L.M.J.C. Jocson with Reuters