• PH shares retreat on profit-taking, economic concerns

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    Philippine shares retreated on Wednesday on profit-taking following two days of gains, as investors fretted about the country’s growth outlook and the timing of a possible rate hike by the central bank.

    Early gains seen in the morning vanished by the afternoon session and the main index eventually fell below the psychologically important 6,800-point level.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) retreated 34.27 points or 0.50 percent to 6,766.57, while the wider all shares lost by 7.13 points or 0.18 percent to 4,061.83.

    “Early gains were wiped out by the noon close, however, as investors took note of a downward revision of the growth forecast for the country,” said Justino Calaycay, analyst at Accord Capital Equities Corp.

    Calaycay was referring to JP Morgan’s revised growth outlook for the Philippines.

    From a previous forecast of 6.6 percent growth this year, the US financial services giant cut its 2014 gross domestic product forecast for the Philippines to 6.0 percent following the disappointing first-quarter GDP results.

    “It [JP Morgan] likewise did not rule out the possibility that the BSP [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas] will move on interest rates within the year,” Calaycay added.

    Although majority of the sectors remained in the green, two sectoral indices shed some points. Property lost 59.12 points or 2.21 percent to 2,622.64, while holding firms were down 28.53 points or 0.46 percent to 6,170.81.

    Among the gainers, mining and oil was up 176.01 points or 1.14 percent to 15,645.50, while financials gained 5.60 points or 0.35 percent to 1,602.53. Industrials rose 10.51 points or 0.10 percent to 10,357.22, while services gained 1.47 points or 0.07 percent to 2,035.04.

    Trading volume on Wednesday stood at 1.2 billion shares valued at P6.6 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 99 to 74, while 47 issues were unchanged.

    Some of the most actively traded stocks were Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., up 0.07 percent at P2,890.00; Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., unchanged at P85.65; BDO Unibank, Inc., up 1.23 percent at P90.40; Energy Development Corp., up 2.17 percent at P6.13; and Universal Robina Corp., unchanged at P153.30.

    “Amid the strong market rebound, market performance over the past four days has exhibited strong volatility. Taking this into consideration, we recommend investors to stay alert when the market approaches resistance levels,” brokerage DA Market Securities, Inc. said.

    On Tuesday, local stocks rose in line with firmer Asian bourses following positive manufacturing data from China and the United States.

    The PSEi settled at 6,800.84 on Tuesday, up 90.44 points or 1.35 percent, while the wider all shares rose 40.67 points or 1.01 percent to 4,068.96.

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