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Philippine stocks slightly up

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MANILA, Philippines—Selective buying perked up the local stock index after a sluggish start on Monday but overall sentiment remained cautious due to a string of external concerns.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index closed 10.27 points, or 0.19 percent, higher at 5,449.55, continuing the rally last Friday.

But despite the overall index gain, there were fewer advancers (61) compared to decliners (90) while 46 stocks were unchanged. Value turnover was heavy at P10.1 billion.

The main index was led higher by URC (+3.82 percent), JG Summit (+3.68 percent) and Manila Water (+3 percent).

By counter, the financial, industrial, holding firms and property counters posted modest gains, making up for the slack in services and mining/oil.

Other index stocks that aided the PSEi were AC, BDO, Meralco, RLC and BPI. The non-PSEi stocks that gained in heavy volume were PNB, GT Capital, APM and Security Bank.

On the other hand, the PSEi’s gain was tempered by the decline of SMIC, Metrobank, PLDT, AGI and EDC.

Across the region, trading was mixed although hopes have increased that the United States would be able to address its fiscal cliff—referring to the mandated tax increases that will reduce budget deficits drastically at the risk of an economic recession in 2013.

In its daily market commentary, Metrobank said the bourse was expected to move sideways as investors would be on a “wait-and-see mode, hinging on further developments abroad.”

“Volatile trading is seen ahead of the Philippine third-quarter 2012 GDP (gross domestic product) results, US fiscal fears and escalating tension between Israel and Palestine. Meanwhile, buying on dips is still preferred,” Metrobank said.

The PSEi’s support was seen at 5,400.

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