PSEi saved from 2nd day fall by last-minute PLDT trade

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Trading on the Philippine Stock Exchange finished with an unconvincing advance on Wednesday as the benchmark index was saved from a second-day closing decline only by a last-minute deal on index-heavyweight PLDT.

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Shares traded mostly lower as Greece’s debt problem came at the forefront of investor concerns again, threatening European unity and spreading jitters across global and Asian markets just days ahead of a payment deadline on Friday.

Investors also took a cautious stance ahead of the release of Philippine inflation figures and US employment data on Friday.

After being in the red most of the session, the benchmark PSE index posted a surprise rebound to close 9.71 points or 0.13 percent higher at 7,561.67. The wider All-Shares index lost 1.50 points or 0.03 percent to 4,346.36.

AB Capital Securities Inc. analyst Alexander Tiu attributed the sudden positive turnaround in the benchmark index to a last-minute purchase of PLDT shares.

PLDT was down almost the entire day but closed up P18 or 0.65 percent P2,800, with the volume of transactions reaching 76,735 shares valued at P213.68 million.

Anton Alfonso, research analyst at RCBC Securities Inc., also saw some “last-minute bargain-hunting.”

He added: “The inflation numbers [for the month of May]will be released on Friday, so people will be looking forward to that.”

If May inflation turns out to be benign, the market may experience “a boost in the short term,” Alfonso said.

General sentiment on Wednesday, however, was negative due to uncertainty surrounding the Greek debt negotiations and ahead of the employment data from the US, which could influence global markets, said Jason Escartin, investment analyst at online brokerage firm 2TradeAsia.com.

“Pessimism continued [amid]uncertainty on the talks over Greece’s debt issue, plus the release of key employment data in the US. Immediate support is at 7,500 points, while resistance is at 7,580 to 7,600,” he said.

AB Capital’s Tiu said Greece’s next move will play a pivotal role in the market’s behavior in the days ahead.

“If Greece goes into default, then the market will be worse [than this]. There is still huge uncertainty in the market,” Tiu said.

An emergency meeting of creditors presided by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday tried to speed up talks to find a compromise reform-based solution to Greece’s debt crisis ahead of a payment deadline on Friday and the expiry of its bailout program on June 30.

Sectoral indices on the PSE ended mixed, with financials, industrial and services posting gains, and holding firms, mining and oil and property settled with losses.

The top losers included Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., Ayala Corp., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Emperador Inc., BDO Unibank Inc., and Energy Development Corp.

Three of the most actively traded stocks posted gains: SM Prime Holdings Inc., Globe Telecom Inc. and Universal Robina Corp.

Total volume was 664.6 million, valued at P7.12 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers 102 to 72, while 51 issues closed unchanged.

On Tuesday, the PSEi retreated 1.54 percent or 118.41 points to 7,551.96, while the All-Shares index fell 1.13 percent or 49.51 points to 4,347.86.

WITH CATHERINE TALAVERA

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