PH stock index nears record level

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MANILA, Philippines – Most local stock prices rallied on Friday as investors loaded up on blue chips, taking up positions for the second semester of 2011.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index racked up 60.42 points or 1.4 percent to 4,351.63. The index is now nearing the record-high of 4,413 seen in November last year.

With this spike, the index thus ended 1.4 percent higher for the week and was about 3.6 percent ahead of its end-2010 level of around 4,200.

“We broke a critical barrier at 4,340, so this could be the onset of a new upswing which will break the market’s all-time high level of 4,413 within this month,” said Asiasec Equities Inc. chief strategist Manny Cruz.

Cruz said the Philippines and Indonesia had been benefiting from the resumption of foreign buying since Wednesday, given this renewed optimism on emerging markets.

The day’s upswing was aided by the rebound of index heavyweight PLDT after a three-day slump triggered by an adverse ruling by the Supreme Court that questioned its foreign equity limit, and allowed a two-percent rise by the services counter which posted the steepest climb for the day. All other counters were up.

Turnover for the day amounted to P5.28 billion.

There were 87 advancers, which overwhelmed 46 decliners, while 34 stocks were unchanged.

PLDT, the day’s most actively traded stock, rebounded by 2.9 percent or P68 to finish at P2,380.

“For the meantime, foreign fund managers have set aside the SC ruling. They think for the long-term, it will be a non-issue,” Cruz said.

Other index gainers were EDC, AGI, Petron, Metrobank, Banco de Oro, BPI, ICTSI, Aboitiz Power, DMCI, Ayala Land, Metro Pacific Investments, Megaworld and Ayala Corp. GERI (formerly Fil-Estate), San Miguel Corp. and Atlas likewise gained in heavy trade.

Semirara was also actively traded but ended in the red.

Investors also took heart from the overnight rally on Wall Street that was in turn still brought about by optimism following the resolution of the Greek fiscal crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Index was up by 152.92 points or 1.25 percent overnight to 12,414.34.

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