PHILIPPINE STOCKS closed higher on Thursday on bargain hunting as well as improved labor data, also tracking Wall Street’s rise overnight.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 39.66 points or 0.6% to close at 6,593.74 on Thursday, while the broader all shares index went up by 15.13 points or 0.43% to 3,505.20.

“The local market climbed this Thursday by 39.66 points or 0.61% to 6,593.74. This came on the back of bargain hunting fueled by the positive spillovers from Wall Street and the further improvements in our labor market figures,” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research and Engagement Officer Mikhail Philippe Q. Plopenio said in a Viber message.

“However, ongoing headwinds, which include the peso’s depreciation and recession risks offshore, kept many investors on the sidelines, which resulted in weak trading for the day,” Mr. Plopenio said.

US stock indexes climbed on Wednesday as bond yields eased. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 435.98 points or 1.4% to 31,581.28; the S&P 500 gained 71.68 points or 1.83% to 3,979.87; and the Nasdaq Composite added 246.99 points or 2.14% to end at 11,791.90.

Meanwhile, the country’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% in July, its lowest level in more than two years, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Thursday. The jobless rate eased from 6% in June and 7.2% in July last year.

On the other hand, the peso logged a new record low for the fifth session in a row, closing at P57.18 a dollar from P57.135 a day prior. This is also the local unit’s sixth straight day of losses.

“Investors are still on the sidelines as they await the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting,” Mercantile Securities Corp. Head Trader Jeff Radley C. See said in a Viber message. The FOMC is scheduled to meet on Sept. 20-21.

“Consumer stocks are still the main theme in the short term as they are the ones who are moving the index,” Mr. See added.

The majority of sectoral indices ended higher on Thursday except for mining and oil, which went down by 60.45 points or 0.52% to 11,516.61, and services, which decreased by 5.94 points or 0.35% to 1,671.51.

Meanwhile, property climbed by 30.54 points or 1.03% to 2,977.97; industrials went up by 97.56 points or 0.99% to close at 9,859.94; holding firms increased by 28.19 points or 0.44% to 6,301.62; and financials added 5.76 points or 0.36% to close at 1,594.23.

Value turnover went up to P5.25 billion on Thursday with 674.59 million shares changing hands from the P4.85 billion with 916.47 million issues seen the previous day.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 99 against 88, while 48 names closed unchanged.

Net foreign selling was at P48.68 million on Thursday, a turnaround from the P42.72 million in net purchases seen on Wednesday.

Mercantile Securities’ Mr. See placed the PSEi’s support at 6,472 and resistance at the 6,700 and 6,900 levels. — J.I.D. Tabile