• PH stocks flat before Fed move

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    Stocks closed Monday’s trade little changed to firmer after a “tug-of-war” between sellers and buyers pulled the market both ways earlier in the day, while many other investors took to the sidelines ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting on April 30.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up 0.14 percent or 10.82 points to settle at 7,958.07, while the All Shares index added 0.19 percent or 8.52 points at 4,555.64.

    Analysts see the market continuing to trade sideways between 7,900 and 8,000 points in the next few days.

    Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Finance Inc., said the market ended “flat,” after the session saw a “tug of war between buyers and sellers” amid a lack of significant catalysts.

    Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corp. managing director, said Monday’s movement was only a reflection of Friday’s trading, which tracked Wall Street’s advance.

    “For today, the market consolidated with an upward bias, before it [gets ready to]retest the 8,000 level. [It was due to a] lack of economic data, plus the US and Europe have yet to start the new trading week. [So] we turned to companies’ specific data,” he said.

    Newly listed Crown Asia Chemicals Corp. debuted on the PSE at a brisk pace, reaching its peak [daily limit]at P2.11 even before the market opened and held on to that gain throughout the session unchallenged, with no sellers coming forward.

    Last week, at the close of trade on Friday, US markets were up as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 21.45 points, S&P 500 rose 4.76 points and Nasdaq rallied 36.02 points.

    Only the financials counter finished down on Monday, while the rest of the sectoral indices ended in positive territory, led by a 2.12 percent gain in the mining and oil sub-index.

    Most actively traded stocks that declined were BDO Unibank Inc., Universal Robina Corp., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, and Jollibee Foods Corp.

    Top advancers of the day were Alliance Global Group Inc., Ayala Land Inc., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Ayala Corp., SM Investments Corp., and SM Prime Holdings Inc.

    Advancers outnumbered decliners 92 to 88, while 48 issues finished unchanged. Total volume was thinner at 686.7 million shares, valued at P8.12 billion.

    Equities trading will be shortened this week, with the Labor Day holiday prompting suspension of local financial markets’ operations on Friday, May 1.

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