Stocks end higher

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Local stocks firmed up Monday as investors took their cue from mostly buoyant regional markets.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index gained 39.58 points or 0.62 percent to close at 6,443.81. Elsewhere in the region, stock markets were mostly up, led by China, which benefited from bargain-hunting after last week’s favorable factory and bank lending data.

At the local market, the day’s upswing was led by the property counter (+1.66 percent).

Value turnover amounted to P68.95 billion, which was bloated by a P64-billion cross sale of shares of SM Prime, SM Development Corp. and Highlands Prime in relation to an ongoing consolidation of the SM property units.

There were 80 advancers, which outnumbered 69 decliners, while 38 stocks were unchanged.

The day’s biggest index gainer was AEV (+3.19 percent), followed by ICTSI, MPI, AP, SM Prime and ALI, which all gained more than 2 percent. DMCI, BPI, Philex and Globe Telecom also gained more than 1 percent.

The day’s biggest decliner was Petron, whose shares fell 4.06 percent in the aftermath of an oil spill in Cavite during the weekend.

Among non-index stocks, Security Bank shares fell 4.16 percent as the bank reported a 66-percent decline in first semester net profit to P1.7 billion compared to the level in the same period last year when earnings were boosted by large trading gains. Doris C. Dumlao

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