by Kristine Liu
MANILA, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Investors on Thursday started positioning themselves on selected issues battered by the eight- day sell-off in the Philippine stock market.
The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index gained 0.83 percent or 53.36 points to 6,472.98. The broader all-share index rose by 0.83 percent or 33.63 points to 4,076.49.
Trading volume reached 982 million shares worth 9.50 billion pesos (233.21 million U.S. dollars) with 103 stocks advancing, 50 declining and 51 unchanged.
"The last eight days have brought the market close to, if not inside technically oversold territory -- an area almost alien to the measure for an extended period, parallel to its record-setting and re-setting run," analyst Justino Calaycay of Accord Capital Equities Corp. said.
Prior to Thursday's rebound, the composite index has shed 6.06 percent in the last eight sessions, falling from the 6.833.77 peak of March 8, 2013 to the mid-week close of 6,419.62.
Calaycay said technical indicators show the possible rise of the bulls, many of whom have started showing up as early as Wednesday when the index erased the entire 115 points loss sustained through the mid-day break, leading to an almost unchanged close.
"This indicates a growing number of bets the sell-off may have been overdone at this point," Calaycay said.
Given the approaching Holy Week break, and on anticipation trades will somewhat ease off during this period, the index's immediate trading range is defined between 6,390 and 6,520, he said.
The analyst noted that during this period, investors can expect either the negative momentum to dissipate, or at best, a slight upward bias slowly develop.
Stocks in the 30-company index closed mixed. Among those picked up were SM Investments Corp., heavyweight Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.
In other corporate news, conglomerate San Miguel Corp.'s net income in 2012 rose by 57 percent on year to 27.6 billion pesos supported by higher earnings from its beer, food, power generation and packaging businesses.
Consolidated net income before minority interest grew by 35 percent to 38.6 billion pesos due to greater gains from the other investments and favorable foreign exchange rates. Revenues expanded by 30 percent on year to 699 billion pesos.
"Despite the many challenges of the previous year, our core businesses continued to show marked and sustained improvement, while our new businesses, as intended, have added scale, stability, and robust revenue streams," SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said in a statement.