Stocks end lower

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11:26 PM March 1st, 2013

March 1st, 2013 11:26 PM

Local stocks retreated from record highs Friday as investor sentiment was dampened by the suspension of the Bacman geothermal operations while weak regional markets also spurred profit-taking.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index shed 79.18 points or 1.18 percent to close at 6,642.27. The benchmark index fell 0.35 percent for the week.

“It’s the first weekly loss in nine weeks on profit-taking,” BDO chief strategist Jonathan Ravelas said. “A break below 6,560 will signal a much larger correction toward 6,400 levels.”

Value turnover amounted to P10.93 billion. There were 72 advancers, which were edged out by 93 decliners while 45 stocks were unchanged.

Weak data on Chinese manufacturing also resulted in sluggish trading across the region.

At the local market, Lopez-led index stocks Energy Development Corp. and First Gen Corp. dragged down the index as investors sold down these stocks following the disclosure that EDC had suspended operations on its Bacman geothermal plants. Non-PSEi stock First Holdings Corp. also fell in heavy trade.

“This could set (EDC) back another year. This may not be a buy opportunity,” said fund manager Gus Cosio, president of First Metro Asset Management Inc.

After a sharp rise on Thursday, BDO plunged by 6.52 percent. Selling on SMDC, Megaworld, Belle, Philex, SMIC, SMC, ALI also dragged down the index.

On the other hand, the day’s decline was tempered by the sharp gains made by Metrobank (+3.51 percent) and RLC (+3.3 percent). DMCI, Globe, MPI, AGI, Semirara, BPI, AEV and Meralco also gained.

The day’s most actively traded stock was Bloomberry (+4.19 percent), which gained on news that the gaming stock will join the PSEi, replacing SMDC, starting March 11. Doris C. Dumlao

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