Market higher on end-quarter window dressing

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Share prices ended Friday trading higher on end-of-the-quarter window dressing and with investors encouraged by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) decision to keep its policy rates on hold.

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“For Friday, the market was up only because of an afternoon rally, driven by quarter-end window-dressing,” Abbygayle Estrella, analyst at AB Capital Securities, Inc., said in a phone interview. She was referring to the strategy used by fund managers to improve the look of their portfolios by selling losing stocks and buying top performing ones.

On Thursday, the BSP kept its policy rates unchanged. However, it decided to raise the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for commercial banks by 1 percentage point to 19 percent effective April 4, indicating a bias toward gradual tightening.

“For the reserve adjustment, only [listed]banks are affected,” Estrella said.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) advanced 43.93 points or 0.70 percent to 6,359.62, while the wider all shares index rose 20.97 points or 0.55 percent to 3,835.20.

Except for financials, which slipped by 2.05 points or 0.14 percent to end at 1,504.47, majority of the sectoral indices managed to post gains.

Property rose 38.34 points or 1.59 percent or to 2,449.42, followed by services which climbed 18.30 points or 0.96 percent to 1,930.94. Industrials added 50.98 points or 0.53 percent to 9,670.28 while holding firms gained 26.98 points or 0.47 percent to 5,783.34.

Mining and oil inched up slightly by 33.82 points or 0.24 percent to 14,432.06.

Volume of shares traded was 1.5 billion shares valued at P9.3 billion. Advancers beat decliners 82 to 60, while 52 issues were unchanged.

On Thursday, the market slipped again after a modest recovery on Wednesday as Wall Street remained weak amid lingering tensions between Russia and Ukraine over the Crimea region. The PSEi fell 32.81 points or 0.52 percent to 6,315.69, while the broader all shares was down 19.59 points or 0.51 percent at 3,814.23.

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