MANILA – Bargain hunting lifted the main equities index on Monday ahead of the release of the March 2022 domestic inflation report while the peso tracked gains in the local bourse. 
The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose by 0.14 percent, or 10.33 points, to 7,163.21 points. 
All Shares followed with a jump of 0.24 percent, or 8.95 points, to 3,797.54 points. 
Most of the sectoral gauges tracked the main index, led by Mining and Oil with an increase of 1.43 percent. 
Industrial followed with a hike of 0.83 percent as well as Property, 0.73 percent; Services, 0.12 percent; and Financials, 0.06 percent. 
Only Holding Firms finished the day in the negative territory with a decline of 0.27 percent. 
Volume reached 1.33 billion shares amounting to PHP3.87 billion. 
Advancers led decliners at 96 to 83, while 56 shares were unchanged. 
Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corporation (RCDC) head of sales, said speculations on the March 2022 inflation print, along with improvement of foreign portfolio investments to the Philippines, boosted equities trading during the day. 
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is scheduled to report the March 2022 inflation print on Tuesday. 
Inflation rate last February was flat at 3 percent. 
Monetary authorities recently hiked their average inflation forecasts for this and next year after the upticks in global oil prices, which are expected to impact commodity prices, among others. 
The BSP’s average inflation forecast for this year was changed from 3.7 percent to 4.3 percent, higher than the government’s 2-4 percent target band, and the 2023 projection from 3.3 percent to 3.6 percent. 
Meanwhile, the peso appreciated against the US dollar after finishing the day at 51.38 from 51.67 last Friday. 
It opened the week at 51.6 and traded between 51.6 and 51.31. 
The average level for the day stood at 51.45. 
Volume totaled USD1.208 billion, lower than the USD1.33 billion in the previous session. (PNA)