THE MAIN INDEX returned to the 6,700 level on Monday, posting its best close in nearly a month, on bargain hunting and as positive sentiment in the US spilled over to the local market.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 2.12% or 140.89 points to end at 6,769.64 on Monday, while the broader all shares went up by 1.44% or 50.53 points to close at 3,543.28.

This was the PSEi’s best finish in almost a month or since April 4’s close of 6,827.06.

“The PSEi surged by 140.89 points (2.12%) as investors continued to hunt for bargain stocks after the market’s decline in the past few weeks,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Analyst Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message.

“The positive cues from the US markets last Friday and the easing tensions in the Middle East contributed to the market’s gain. Foreign investors also helped lift the market…,” she added.

Net foreign buying ballooned to P1.18 billion on Monday from P241.78 million on Friday.

US stocks closed higher on Friday, buoyed by a rally in mega-cap growth stocks following robust quarterly results from technology heavyweights Alphabet and Microsoft in addition to moderate inflation data, Reuters reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 153.86 points or 0.4% to 38,239.66; the S&P 500 gained 51.54 points or 1.02% to 5,099.96; and the Nasdaq Composite gained 316.14 points or 2.03% to 15,927.90.

US Commerce department data showed monthly inflation rose moderately in March on an annual basis while coming in line with estimates on a monthly basis.

The report offered some relief to financial markets spooked by worries of stagflation a day after data showed inflation surging and economic growth slowing in the first quarter.

“Philippine shares returned near the 6,800 mark as month-end window dressing approached…,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan added in a Viber message.

Almost all of the market’s sectoral indices ended higher, with mining and oil being the lone decliner, dropping by 0.81% or 72.19 points to 8,802.57.

Meanwhile, financials rose by 2.89% or 59.33 points to 2,110.03; services climbed by 2.29% or 42.16 points to 1,878.41; property went up by 1.94% or 48.72 points to 2,560.44; industrials surged by 1.47% or 130.81 points to 9,014.57; and holding firms added 1.47% or 90.48 points to end at 6,227.05.

“Among the index members, Universal Robina Corp. returned above P100, gaining by 8.7% to P104.90 after its steep decline in the previous days. Meanwhile, Monde Nissin Corp. was at the bottom, losing 2.94% to P10.58,” Ms. Alviar said.

Value turnover rose to P5.32 billion on Monday with 603.99 million stocks changing hands from the P3.31 billion with 505.07 million shares traded on Friday.

Advancers beat decliners, 120 against 74, while 49 names ended unchanged. — R.M.D. Ochave with Reuters