PHILIPPINE shares closed marginally higher on Thursday on late buying, with the main index stuck in the red for most of the session as a higher inflation rate for May dampened investor sentiment.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said consumer prices in May rose by 4.5 percent, the fastest pace in two-and-a-half years. The May figure was also faster than April’s 4.1 percent and the 2.6 percent rate seen in May of last year.
Freya Natividad, analyst at Papa Securities Corp., said investors took the inflation rate result negatively.
“The decline during intraday trade was investors’ immediate reaction to the higher-than-expected inflation number,” she said.
However, last-minute buying in select blue chips gave the main index a lift just before the close.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up 5.87 points or 0.09 percent to 6,772.44, while the wider all shares gained 15.35 points or 0.38 percent to 4,077.18.
Natividad said the market was up because of a last-minute rally that was “more due to bargain hunting” than anything else. “I think some investors took advantage of the lower prices,” she said.
Sectoral indices were mixed. Property rose 12.55 points or 0.48 percent to 2,635.19 and holding firms were up 15.42 points or 0.25 percent to 6,186.23. Services also rose 3.90 points or 0.19 percent to 2,038.94.
Financials, on the other hand, were down 2.81 points or 0.18 percent to 1,599.72, while mining and oil gave up 3.15 points or 0.02 percent to 15,642.35. Industrials fell 1.71 points or 0.02 percent to 10,355.51.
Total volume traded on Thursday was 2.5 billion shares valued at P7.3 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 95 to 86, while 47 issues were unchanged.
Some of the most actively traded stocks on Thursday were Energy Development Corp., up 1.63 percent at P6.2; Megaworld Corp., down 0.43 percent at P4.64; Pacific Online Systems Corp. (LOTO), which surged 21.07 percent to P18.50; and Travellers International Hotel Group Inc., up 3.90 percent at P9.58.
LOTO shares surged after the company announced that it will sell part or all of its treasury shares to raise funds to upgrade and expand its equipment and lottery terminals.
Treasury shares are unissued shares or stocks that have been repurchased by the company from its from shareholders.
In a letter to the stock exchange on Thursday, Pacific Online, a provider of gaming solutions for the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, said that “proceeds from the sale of the company’s treasury shares will be made part of working capital”.
Approximately 17 million of its 20.8 million treasury shares will be sold.
The market was lower on Wednesday after investors opted to book profits following two days of gains. The PSEi retreated 34.27 points or 0.50 percent to 6,766.57, while the wider all shares lost 7.13 points or 0.18 percent to 4,061.83.