STOCKS climbed on Wednesday on last-minute bargain hunting ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s policy statement, concerns over a possible recession in the United States as well as the wider Philippine budget deficit in June.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went up by 13.76 points or 0.22% to close at 6,236.76 on Wednesday, while the broader all shares index increased by 5.59 points or 0.16% to 3,370.58.

“The local bourse was able to close in the green, up by 13.76 points (+0.22%) to 6,236.76 due to last-minute bargain hunting,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Analyst Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message.

Ms. Alviar said that the sideways movement of the PSEi was due to negative sentiment in US markets and the government’s wider budget deficit in June.

“Most investors were also on the sidelines… as they wait for the interest rate decision of the Federal Reserve,” she added.

“Local shares were bought as investors became wary of the US, as Walmart slashed its earnings forecasts, fueling concerns that consumer spending might not be strong enough to keep the US out of the verge of recession,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

Mr. Limlingan said investors were also looking ahead to the US Federal Reserve’s latest policy decision.

The Fed is holding its policy review on July 26-27 and was expected to announce its decision overnight. Markets were pricing in at least another 75-basis-point hike as inflation in the world’s largest economy continues to soar.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of the Treasury on Tuesday said the budget gap stood at P215.5 billion in June, 43.8% higher than the P149.9 billion in the same month a year ago.

In the first six months of 2022, the budget deficit narrowed to P674.2 billion, 5.84% lower than the P716.1-billion gap a year ago and 18.64% below the program.

The majority of sectoral indices ended in the green on Wednesday except for property, which went down by 13.59 points or 0.48% to 2,782.28.

Meanwhile, financials climbed 18.94 points or 1.29% to 1,479.43; services increased by 5.77 points or 0.35% to 1,632.54; mining and oil went up by 30.34 points or 0.26% to 11,312.30; holding firms gained 7.06 points or 0.11% to end at 5,919.51; and industrials inched up by 0.26 point to close at 9,359.24.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 100 versus 75, while 41 names closed unchanged.

Value turnover inched up to P3.83 billion on Wednesday with 325.86 million shares changing hands from the P3.75 billion with 728.03 million issues seen the previous day.

Net foreign selling further declined to P136.75 million from the P431.57 million seen on Wednesday.

Regina Capital’s Mr. Limlingan placed the PSEi’s support at 6,100 and resistance at 6,400, while Philstocks Financial’s Ms. Alviar put support between 6,100 and 6,150 and resistance at the 6,400 area. — J.I.D. Tabile