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PSEi nears 8,500

/ 06:21 PM February 26, 2018

The local stock barometer firmed up to nearly 8,500 on Monday, tracking upbeat US and regional markets as the US Federal Reserve signalled a “gradual” pace of interest rate hikes.

Reversing early losses, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended 32.42 points or 0.38 percent higher to finish at 8,499.98. This was on the back of selective buying of large-cap stocks, particularly banks.

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On Friday, the US Fed said it expected “further gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy and economic activity will expand at a moderate pace.” This statement lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which added 347.51 points or 1.39 percent on Friday. On Monday, regional markets were mostly up as investors took their cue from Wall Street.

Locally, the lack of any untoward incident during Sunday’s EDSA Revolution anniversary also soothed financial markets.

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Domestic investors scouting for bargains mostly supported the PSEi on Monday as there was P1.53 billion in net foreign selling for the day.

At the local market, the PSEi was led higher by the financial counter, which surged by 1.59 percent, while the industrial, holding firm and mining/oil counters also gained.

On the other hand, the services and property counters slipped.

Value turnover for the day amounted to P9.89 billion.

Despite the PSEi’s gain, market breadth was negative. There were 112 decliners that outnumbered 105 advancers while 43 stocks were unchanged.

Investors snapped up shares of Jollibee, which added 3.55 percent, while BDO, SM Prime, Metrobank and BPI.

URC and Puregold both gained over 1 percent, while Ayala Corp. likewise firmed up.

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Investors also flocked to speculative trades outside the PSEi. The day’s most actively traded company was MRC Allied, which surged by 24.14 percent.

Local stock brokerage Papa Securities said MRC Allied benefited from the third telecom player speculation. “This is given that MRC’s majority shareholder, Menlo Capital Corp., just so happened to acquire 70 percent of Philippine Telegraph & Telephone (PT&T) last August 2017,” the brokerage said in a research note.

Prime Orion rallied by 11.98 percent, while MacroAsia added 4.36 percent. Crown Equities added 1.72 percent.

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