Stocks edge higher

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Local stocks edged higher for the fourth session Tuesday on month-end window-dressing, upbeat first-quarter earnings and a global regime of easy monetary policy.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index gained 42.64 points or 0.61 percent to close at 7,070.99. The index is nearing the all-time high of 7,120.48 that was hit on April 22.

The index gained notwithstanding the further decline in share prices of gaming stocks, three of which are part of the PSEi—Belle (-3.14 percent), AGI (-1.66 percent) and Bloomberry (-0.17 percent)—due to uncertainties created by a change in the tax regime from a 5-percent franchise tax on gross gaming revenues to a regular 30-percent tax on net income.

Melco (-7.76 percent), the hardest hit among gaming stocks on Tuesday, said it was looking at all options including “legal remedy” and negotiations with regulators.

Property and services boosted the day’s gains, with their respective counters rising by 1.2 percent. Only the mining/oil counter was in the red (-1.19 percent). Doris C. Dumlao

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