REUTERS

SHARES closed higher on Thursday, shrugging off data showing the increase in the number of unemployed Filipinos, on hopes that more sectors could reopen or expand their operations this month.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 18.77 points or 0.27% on Thursday to close at 6,952.88, while the broader all shares index went up by 28.83 points or 0.67% to finish at 4,325.84.

“Market is looking forward to a likely gradual business reopening this month (even under the extended lockdown), which could make supply chain-related inflation transitory and lift consumption spending as well toward yearend,” First Metro Investment Corp. Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said in a Viber message.

The government was expected to announce new restrictions for Metro Manila yesterday.

“The main index continues to hover right below the 7,000 key level, which is the inflection point for its movement in the long term,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in an e-mail.

“Investors shrugged off the higher unemployment rate in August since we think that, this has already been priced in by the investors,” Claire T. Alviar, senior research and engagement officer at Philstocks Financial, Inc., said in a separate Viber message.

The country’s unemployment rate rose to 8.1% in August from the 6.9% in July, the Philippine Statistics Authority’s labor force survey showed. This was the highest jobless print in four months and translates to some 3.882 million unemployed Filipinos in August from 3.073 million in July.

Majority of sectoral indices ended higher on Thursday except for property, which lost 24.14 points or 0.79% to 3,024.21, and financials, which declined by 6.70 points or 0.47% to end at 1,404.49.

Meanwhile, industrials climbed 219.53 points or 2.18% to 10,256; mining and oil gained 196.02 points or 2.15% to close at 9,281.90; services went up by 18.18 points or 0.94% to 1,935.38; and holding firms rose 12.13 points or 0.17% to finish at 6,963.05.

Value turnover amounted to P9.88 billion on Thursday with 1.54 billion issues traded, inching down from the P9.88 billion with 1.99 billion shares seen on Wednesday.

Advancers beat decliners, 115 against 78, while 51 issues remain unchanged. Net foreign selling plunged to P346.7 million on Thursday from the P1.47 billion seen on Wednesday.

“Investors are deciding to be more optimistic which is resulting in higher valuations despite the sluggish pace of recovery in the fundamentals of most companies. Investors are also counting on a much stronger [fourth quarter], which also gives a lot of consideration to the beginning of the campaign season for the 2022 national elections,” AAA Southeast Equities’ Mr. Mangun said.

“We expect to see the PSEi to move in a sideways trend channel as investors and fund managers perceive current price ranges to be fairly valued considering the current internal and external risks,” he added. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte