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Friday, April 18, 2014

PH stock market nears 9-month high after Wall Street gains, China growth data

The Philippine benchmark index on Wednesday closed at its highest level in nearly nine months ahead of the Holy Week break, buoyed by a rally in property shares and gains on Wall Street with investors digesting the latest data on China’s economic growth.

At the Philippine Stock Exchange, the composite index went up 49.52 points, or 0.75 percent, to 6,671.18, its highest finish since closing at 6,728.00 on July 30, 2013. The local barometer ended the shortened trading week with a gain of 1.13 percent.

All counters finished in the green led by the property sub-index, which rose 1.43 percent.

Advancers dominated decliners, 119 to 63, while 40 issues were unchanged. Value turnover improved to P8.39 billion from yesterday's P7.05 billion, as 2.65 billion stocks changed hands.

SM Investments and SM Prime were the most actively traded stocks, rising 0.52 percent and a percent, respectively. Yesterday, the real estate conglomerate announced a five-year plan to spend P400 billion for the expansion of its mall, residential, commercial and leisure business that will double earnings by 2018.

Top gainers were Unioil, Swift and Island Information, while the biggest losers were Lorenzo Shipping, Primex and Euro-Med.

"Investors took their cue from an extended rally in US stocks to push the local measure to a second day of advance," said Jun Calaycay of Accord Capital Equities Corp. Today is the last trading day in the local stock market in observance of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Overnight, US stocks advanced after a see-saw trading session as favorable earnings reports from blue-chip companies like Coca-Cola Co and Johnson & Johnson overshadowed soft regional manufacturing data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 89.32 points, or 0.55 percent, to 16,262.56.

Optimism flooded the Asia-Pacific region after China's economy grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter, the slowest pace in the last six quarters but a tad higher than the 7.3 percent forecast, relieving fears of a sharper slowdown.

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