THE local market was slightly higher on Thursday, mirroring Wall Street’s marginal gains overnight, with the ongoing earnings season providing pockets of incentives to buy although continued profit-taking kept gains to a minimum.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) finished the day’s trade up 6.24 points or 0.09 percent at 6,955.21, while the All Shares index was up 8.64 points or 0.21 percent at 4,166.50.
The volume of shares traded reached 1.039 billion, valued at P6.948 billion.
Advancers outnumbered decliners 94 to 83, while 43 issues were unchanged.
Shares of telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) were the top loser after the company reported flat first-half earnings. PLDT shares closed at down 2.27 percent or P70 at P3,014.00.
On Tuesday, PLDT reported that its consolidated net income rose 2 percent to P20 billion from P19.7 billion last year.
Overnight, the Dow Jones rose 13.87 points or 0.08 percent to 16,443.34, the S&P 500 gained 0.03 point to 1,920.24, and Nasdaq added 2.22 points or 0.05 percent to 4,355.05.
Harry Liu, president of Summit Securities Inc., said the market was flat as it is in a “consolidation phase”.
Liu noted that the market will continue to trudge sideways in the short term and start to climb toward the 7,800-target for next year once it regains the 7,000-level.
“Next year’s series of activities and expansion in the economy is giving the people confidence. Also, it is election year, so will we see a lot of activities that will push up the market,” he added.
Jason Escartin of F. Yap Securities said that while some investors continued to take profits from earlier gains, there was also some buying appetite.
“UNESCAP’s 6.7-percent forecast for the year encouraged buying appetite as first-half earnings data continue to be disclosed,” Escartin said.
A report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) earlier said the Philippine economy is forecast to grow 6.7 percent this year, easing from the 7.2 percent growth in 2013.
Among the indices in Thursday’s trade, industrials and services slumped while the rest ended higher. Industrial lost 18.20 points or 0.17 percent to 10,642.71, while services went down 21.90 points or 1.03 percent to 2,096.05.
Mining and oil gained 317.59 points or 0.11 percent to 17,508.12, while financials added 1.08 points or 0.07 percent to 1,640.83.
Holding firms improved 48.88 points or 0.79 percent to 2,096.05, while property inched up 2.44 points or 0.09 percent to 2,620.32.
Among the top traded shares, Ayala Corp. was unchanged at P668 while Ayala Land Inc. down 0.32 percent or 10 cents at P31.40 per share.
The top gainers included Nickel Asia Corp., which went up 4.11 percent or P1.55 to P3,925 per share; Megaworld Corp., which advanced 0.46 percent or 2 cents to P39.40; and Alliance Global Group Inc., higher by 2.17 percent or 60 centavos to P28.20 apiece.
On Wednesday, the PSEi slipped by 0.36 percent or 25.03 points to 6,948.97, while the broader All Shares index was down by 0.32 percent or 13.28 points to 4,157.86.