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Stocks end lower

Most local stocks declined Monday, in step with the rest of the region, as investors pocketed gains following disappointing news on China’s growth.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index slipped 0.78 percent to 6,837.77. All subindices ended in the red, led by the 2.13-percent decline for mining and oil. A total of 2.99 billion shares changed hands for P8.87 billion.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that gross domestic product (GDP) grew just 7.7 percent in the first quarter, well below the 8-percent consensus expectation. “The drop was due to mostly external conditions. China is one of the biggest economies in the world. A lot of countries in the region, including the Philippines, are mostly relying on demand from China in terms of trade,” said Maria Narciso, equities analyst at stockbrokerage AB Capital Securities Inc.

She said investors were also jittery over high valuations, estimated at between 19 times to 20 times earnings for 2013, giving investors yet another reason

to lighten their positions for now.

Henry Sy-led SM Investments Corp., the most actively traded, dipped 1.41 percent. Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which lost a bid to build the Naia Expressway Phase II, declined 0.87 percent while Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. shed 1.23 percent.

“We still think the index will continue to trade sideways this week,” Narciso said. Miguel R. Camus


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