PHILIPPINE stocks were slightly higher on Monday as bargain-hunting activity, particularly in companies that reported good results for the first half, outpaced profit-taking mostly in underperforming stocks.
Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Finance Inc., said over the phone that the market gained a bit due to selective buying.
“Investors opted or preferred continued buying in selected stocks, especially in companies that are performing well,” Del Castillo said.
However, he said the gains were tempered by lingering worries over geopolitical tensions n the Middle East particularly in Syria and Iraq.
With not much market-moving news to provide impetus, Del Castillo said the crop of first-half earnings results remained the major market driver on Monday. He sees the market trading within the 6,980 to 7,050 range for the week.
“Expect the market to consolidate within the week as we are almost upon a long holiday. And we are still in the Ghost Month, so it will be pretty much consolidation for the rest of the week,” he said.
The local markets will be closed for a holiday on August 21 and again on August 25, a Monday. Meanwhile, the so-called Chinese Ghost Month, which ends on August 24 this year, is considered an unlucky period to start a business or engage in a new investment, resulting in typically thin trading on global markets.
At the close of trade on Monday, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) was up 19.07 points or 0.27 percent at 7,027.58, while the wider All Shares was up 3.40 points or 0.08 percent at 4,171.72.
The sectoral indices were mixed. Financials barely moved, inching up 0.52 points or 0.03 percent to 1,640.42, while holding firms dipped 28.72 points or 0.46 percent to 6,194.63.
Industrials gained 105.84 points or 0.99 percent to 10,762.37 but services lost 4.52 points or 0.21 percent to 2,167.48.
Property advanced 22.80 points or 0.86 percent to 2,664 while mining and oil slipped 30.06 points or 0.17 percent to 17,281.19
Of the top-traded stocks, four suffered losses while six gained.
Among the top losers were Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (down 0.43 percent or P14 to close at P3,236), Puregold Price Club Inc. (down 4.99 percent or P1.80 to end at P34.25), Alliance Global Group Inc. (down 4.62 percent or P1.20 to P24.80) and Cosco Capital Inc. (down 2.56 percent or 21 cents to P8.00).
The top gainers included Ayala Land Inc. (up 1.88 percent or 60 cents at P32.60), Manila Electric Company (up 1.49 percent or P4 at P272), and Bloomberry Resorts Corp. (up 2.68 percent or 30 cents at P11.50).
Volume traded reached 1.566 billion shares valued at P8.254 billion. Decliners outnumbered gainers 118 to 70 while 41 stocks were unchanged.
On Friday, the PSEi fell 52.49 points or 0.74 percent to 7,008.51, while the wider All Shares lost 32.48 points or 0.77 percent to 4,168.32.