Stocks rise on remittance data, bargain hunting

LOCAL STOCKS closed higher on Monday following the release of data showing remittances rose in August and on continued bargain hunting.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) went up by 65.58 points or 1.11% to close at 5,970.33 on Monday, while the broader all shares gained 20.89 points or 0.65% to end at 3,198.63.

China Bank Securities Corp. Research Director Rastine Mackie D. Mercado said that the PSEi rallied following strong remittances data.

“The index surges, but volume remains tepid. The PSEi posted a strong rally today ahead of the release of August remittance data. Today’s move may have reflected investors’ optimism on the remittance print,” Mr. Mercado said in an e-mail on Monday.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed cash remittances sent through banks went up by 4.3% to $2.72 billion in August, higher than the $2.60 billion a year earlier. The growth in remittances was the fastest since the 4.4% logged in June.

However, the amount sent home by migrant Filipinos was the lowest in three months or since the $2.43 billion in May.

For the first eight months, cash remittances amounted to $20.985 billion, up 3% from $20.38 billion in the same period last year.

The BSP expects remittances to grow by 4% this year.

Meanwhile, Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Analyst Claire T. Alviar said the market continued to post gains on bargain hunting. 

“The local bourse bucked the trend of the US markets last Friday. Investors extended bargain hunting, but market participation remains weak,” Ms. Alviar said in a Viber message.

Ms. Alviar said that the index heavyweights also pulled the market higher.

“Philippine shares closed higher with investors bracing for another week of data ahead. There are a handful of speaking engagements from Federal Reserve officials throughout the week,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message, adding that investors are also awaiting the release of companies’ financial reports.

Most sectoral indices ended higher on Monday. Holding firms went up by 128.11 points or 2.27% to 5,763.54; property rose by 57.45 points or 2.26% to 2,597.20; mining and oil gained 139.47 points or 1.32% to end at 10,651.20; and services climbed by 9.92 points or 0.65% to 1,529.48.

Meanwhile, financials declined by 18.16 points or 1.19% to 1,502.31 and industrials dropped by 7.81 points or 0.09% to 8,693.45.

Value turnover went up to P6.64 billion on Monday with 541.89 million shares changing hands from the P4.65 billion with 443.29 million issues traded on Friday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners, 87 versus 76, while 49 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling stood at P36.51 million on Monday versus the P513.21 million in net buying seen on Friday.

China Bank Securities’ Mr. Mercado placed the PSEi’s support 5,830 and resistance at 6,000-6,050. — A.E.O. Jose