By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

PHILIPPINE shares advanced on Monday as investors hunted for bargains ahead of April inflation data.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) gained 0.55% or 36.94 points to close at 6,652.49. The broader all-share index added 0.52% or 18.34 points to 3,516.51.

“Ahead of the release of April inflation data, the local bourse rose as investors bought bargain stocks near the support level of 6,600 following three consecutive days of market decline,” Claire T. Alviar, research analyst at Philstocks Financial, Inc., said in a Viber message.

The local statistics agency will report April inflation data on May 7.

Inflation likely quickened to 4.1% last month, according to a median estimate of 16 analysts in a BusinessWorld poll last week. This is within the Philippine central bank’s 3.5-4.3% forecast.

“Positive cues from the United States markets last Friday lifted the sentiment at home amid growing optimism that the Federal Reserve will soon cut rates,” Ms. Alviar said.

On May 3, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index rose by 1.18% or 450.02 points to 38,675.68; the S&P 500 Index gained 1.26% or 63.59 points to 5,127.79; and the Nasdaq Composite Index went up by 1.99% or 315.37 points to 16,156.33.

“Investors are monitoring the ongoing corporate earnings report releases here at home,” Luis A. Limlingan, head of sales at Regina Capital Development Corp., said in a Viber message.

Among sectoral indices, property was the lone decliner, down by 0.02% or 0.56 point to 2,427.62.

Industrials gained 1.3% or 115.17 points to 8,975.13; services climbed by 1.24% or 23.55 points to 1,910.34; and mining and oil added 1.14% or 100.90 points to 8,900.87.

Holding companies added 0.35% or 21.38 points to 6,090.68, while financials gained 0.32% or 6.76 points to 2,095.65.

“Universal Robina Corp. had the biggest gain, increasing by 5.74%, following good first-quarter earnings results,” Ms. Alviar said. “On the other hand, Semirara Mining and Power Corp. was at the bottom, dropping by 1.98%, amid weaker market coal prices, which translated to lower income.”

Value turnover fell to P4.13 billion, with 491.98 million stocks changing hands compared with 764.55 million worth P6.37 billion on Friday.

Winners beat losers 112 to 74, while 50 stocks were unchanged.

Net foreign selling fell to P279.75 million from P1.29 billion on Friday.