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Stocks end higher

Local stocks firmed up Tuesday after a three-day slowdown, in line with mostly buoyant Asian markets.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index regained 10.34 points or 0.15 percent to close at 6,728.

Across the region, markets were mostly higher as investors hunted for bargains after the decline in previous days. Asian stocks rose for the first time in five days alongside the rebound in Japanese equities. The day’s catalysts were a report that Japan’s jobless rate in June stood lower than expected while the People’s Bank of China conducted its first reverse repurchase deals since February, adding liquidity to the financial system.

However, investors were still generally cautious ahead of the two-day US Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting from which investors await clues on the direction of monetary policy. A statement from FOMC is expected Wednesday.

At the local market, trading was mixed across counters, with the financial index (+1.11 percent) leading the main barometer higher. Gains made by BPI (+2.59 percent) and BDO (+2.01 percent) perked up the sub-index.

The holding firms and services, meanwhile, posted marginal gains.

The biggest loser among the sub-indices was the mining/oil counter (-2.54 percent) while the industrial and property counters also ended lower.

The index decliners were Metro Pacific Investments

(-2.66 percent) and Semirara

(-2.11 percent) while SM Prime, Philex and Megaworld all declined more than 1 percent. Petron, Energy Development Corp., Universal Robina, Jollibee and First Gen also ended lower.

Total value turnover amounted to P7.27 billion. Despite the modest index gain, overall market was still sluggish as 58 advancers were overwhelmed by 100 decliners while 36 stocks were unchanged. Doris C. Dumlao

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