The local stock barometer en­ded flat on Wednesday while newly listed retailer, MerryMart Consumer Corp., soared to new heights for the third straight session.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) added a marginal 0.26 points or 0.004 percent to close at 6,282.01.

Outside the PSEi, stock debutant MerryMart added P1.12 or 49.78 percent to close at P3.37 per share. The company—which had sold shares to the public at P1 per share and listed on the local bourse on Monday under the ticker “MM”—is now valued by the stock market at P17 billion.

“MM remains to be the biggest gainer. This may continue till the end of the week as investors favor the retail sector and reminisce on the performance of its sister company, [DoubleDragon Properties], when it did its [initial public offering] six years ago,” AAA Equities head of research Christopher Mangun said.

On the PSEi, Mangun noted that main index started the day much higher from Tuesday’s close and above the 6,350-support level.

“However, investors were more cautious today and decided to take profits early. Sellers overpowered buyers as it moved lower for most of the day, finally closing a few points from its low,” Mangun said.

After all the selling for the day, Mangun said the PSEi might move higher on Thursday if bargain hunters get more aggressive.

Most of the counters slipped. Only the holding firm counter, which added 0.42 percent, kept the main index afloat.

Value turnover amounted to P8.09 billion. Domestic investors kept the main index marginally higher. On the other hand, there was P1.17 billion worth of net foreign selling.

There were 97 decliners that edged out 92 advancers, while 61 stocks were unchanged.

Ayala Corp., BPI and Puregold all added over 2 percent, while Jollibee, Metro Pacific, SM Investments and Mega­world all gained over 1 percent.

Outside of the PSEi, another notable gainer was Dito CME, which rose by 14.6 percent.

On the other hand, GT Capital fell by 3.05 percent, while URC and BDO both lost over 2 percent.

AGI, ICTSI and Meralco all declined by over 1 percent. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

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