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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Foreign buying lifts PH stock market to highest so far this year

The Philippine benchmark index on Wednesday settled at record levels for the year, driven by strong foreign buying and the record performance of US equities overnight.

At the Philippine Stock Exchange, the composite index advanced 27.63 points, or 0.40 percent, to close at 6,880.44, its highest finish since closing at 7,021.95 on May 31, 2013, or near levels before former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke hinted that the US central bank may unwind its massive stimulus program.

The bellwether PSEi peaked at 6,906.63 in early trading until pockets of profit-taking kicked in. Foreign investors went into buying territory with net purchases worth P2.86 billion.

Profit-taking was felt in the mining and oil, as well as financial counters, which shed one percent and 0.75 percent, respectively. The property index gained 0.77 percent, the industrial index added 71 points and the services index rose 0.32 percent to drive the market higher.

There were two decliners for every advancer, while 51 issues were unchanged. Value turnover improved to P14.05 billion from yesterday's P9.70 billion, as 2.34 billion shares changed hands.

Most actively traded stocks were Metrobank, Ayala Land, Alliance Global, Emperador and PLDT. The top gainers were Pancake House, Globalport and DoubleDragon, while the biggest losers were Da Vinci Capital, Berjaya Philippines and Bright Kindle Resources.

"The momentum of last week’s breach of the 6,800 mark continues to flow with the PSEi testing the 6,900 psychological resistance inside the first hour off the opening bell. Even as value activity still favor index-component counters, we are seeing the stirrings of flows into off-index, including what may be considered third tier issues," said Jun Calaycay of Accord Capital Equities Corp.

Calaycay noted that market debutants DoubleDragon and Century Pacific as well as Cyber Bay and 8990 Holdings have entered the Top 20 by value turnover, suggesting growing concerns over valuation vis-a-vis current price levels for blue chips and some second-line issues.

Overnight, US equities barely moved after retail sales rose by the biggest since March 2010. The S&P 500 added less than one point to 1,897.45, closing for a second consecutive time at record levels. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied for a fifth straight session, rising 19.97 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,715.44.

- Interakyson

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