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Stocks down on profit-taking

Investors cashed in on their gains Friday after stocks rallied the previous session on an announcement by the United States Federal Reserve that it was not slowing down the pace of monetary stimulus.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dipped 1.34 percent, or 87.25 points, to 6,424.45. The broader all shares index also slid 1.39 percent.

All sub-indices ended in the red save for the financial sub-sector, which gained 0.58 percent. Losers were led by industrial and property firms, which dipped 2.26 percent and 1.77 percent, respectively.

“Market players were caught by surprise and they just reacted to the Fed announcement,” said Bede Lovell Gomez, investment advisory deputy group head of First Metro Investment Corp.

He said the poor performance of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), International Container Terminal Services Inc. and Ayala Land Inc. weighed on the domestic market.

Even with Friday’s drop, Gomez said they were expecting less volatility during the fourth quarter, a historically strong month for the stock market.

First Metro is projecting the PSEi to end the year at around 6,800 and again attempt to breach 7,200 in the first quarter of 2014.

“For long-only funds, they are already buying next year’s stories,” Gomez said.

Trading volume picked up, with 3.16 billion shares valued at P28.8 billion changing hands. There were 93 decliners against 64 gainers while 39 companies remained unchanged.

Meralco, the most active stock, declined 3.5 percent to P276 a share. This was followed by Union Bank of the Philippines (+3.68 percent), Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (+2.48 percent), Alliance Global Group Inc. (-0.77 percent ) and SM Prime Holdings, which closed flat. Miguel R. Camus

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