Stocks continue rally

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LOCAL stocks extended their gains for a fourth session Friday, bucking a regional downturn on the back of a positive credit-rating outlook by Standard & Poor’s and some yearend window-dressing.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index gained 26.2 points or 0.45 percent to close at 5,823.94. The index hit a high of 5,860.12 in intraday trade—very close to the all-time intraday peak of 5,866.83—but pared down gains instead of breaking into new highs.

“Being the last day before Christmas, this is truly a Santa Claus rally. Now I look forward to the January effect,” said Gus Cosio, president of mutual fund management firm First Metro Asset Management Inc.

The local market shrugged off regional concerns over a stalled budget deal that would have addressed the US’ fiscal cliff by year’s end. Without such a deal, a series of mandated tax increases and spending cuts could push the United States to another recession.

The day’s biggest gainers were JG Summit (+3.16 percent), SM Prime (+2.23 percent), Metrobank (+2.06 percent), DMCI (+2 percent), SMIC (+1.83 percent), Belle (+1.67 percent) and  PLDT

(+1.18 percent). BDO, BPI and ICTSI also contributed to the day’s gains.

The day’s most actively traded stock was Atok-Big Wedge, which rose by 31.74 percent.  Atok disclosed that it had sold 180 million shares to offshore equity funds, boosting its public float to 10.05 percent and thereby meeting the minimum requirement for continuing listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

On the other hand, there was profit-taking on Ayala Land, Ayala Corp., Globe, EDC, MPI, AEV and AP. Among the second-liners, Vista Land and Puregold also closed lower. Doris C. Dumlao

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