The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) hovered below the key 7,000 level on Monday as investors placed bets ahead of the government’s September inflation report today.

The PSEi gained 0.54 percent, or 37.29 points, to 6,960.89 while the broader all-shares index was up 0.5 percent, or 21.68 points, to 4,348.19.

Investors are closely watching readings on inflation for clues on future interest rate decisions by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Of the 17 economists polled by the Inquirer last week, 13 projected a September inflation rate of 5 to 5.2 percent. This was above the BSP’s target of 2 to 4 percent.

Barclays’ Shreya Sodhani said there was no cause for alarm as rising consumer prices were believed to be transitory.

“We do not expect inflation to be a risk to economic recovery now as the price pressures are mostly supply-driven,” Sodhani said.

All subsectors ended in positive territory on Monday save for industrial stocks, which sank 0.31 percent.

Top gainers were mining and oil, up 2.06 percent, followed by holding firms, up 1.35 percent, and financials, up 0.53 percent.

In a separate report issued on Monday, First Metro Investment Corp. and University of Asia and the Pacific said local stocks had room to grow despite persistent risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The rest of the year should continue to see an upward trend, albeit quite volatile since uncertain quarantine restrictions, despite speedier vaccine rollouts, may sideline some investors,” they said in the September 2021 issue of “The Market Call.”

Meanwhile, data from PSE showed the market was propped up by local buying while net foreign selling hit P336.54 million.

Total trading volume ended at 861.39 million shares, valued at P5.61 billion. Advancers and decliners were evenly matched, 93 to 93, while 55 companies closed unchanged.

Converge ICT Solutions Inc. was the most actively traded on Monday as it gained 0.13 percent to P40 per share.

It was followed by AC Energy Corp., up 2.58 percent to P11.92; DMCI Holdings Inc., up 5.62 percent to P7.70; Monde Nissin Corp., up 1.38 percent to P19.06; and Semirara Mining and Power Corp., up 7.4 percent to P23.95. INQ

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