• PH stocks gain on US taper shift

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    The benchmark stock index breached the 6,400-point mark on Friday as investors took their cue from a strong finish on Wall Street following official remarks on stimulus tapering.

    Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen hinted the bank could ease up on its stimulus tapering if the growth outlook weakens.

    The comments provided the platform for a record close on Wall Street, while foreign exchange traders sold the dollar on the possibility that the bank’s bond-buying could continue for longer.

    “The jury is still out on whether the cold weather is to blame [for weaker US economic data]. . . but the markets’ interpretation of Yellen’s comments was positive,” said Hiroichi Nishi, SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed 1.1 percent, or 70.20 points higher at 6,424.99, ending the week on a positive note. The wider all-shares index was up 0.89 percent, or 34.26 points, at 3,866.66.

    Astro del Castillo, First Grade Finance managing director, said the PSEi’s gain on Friday mirrored the strong close on Wall Street.

    At the closing bell on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood 74.30 points, or 0.46 percent higher at 16,272.71 at Thursday’s finish.

    The broad-based S&P 500 passed the January high mark with a gain of 9.15 points, or 0.50 percent to a record 1,854.31.

    The tech-heavy Nasdaq, meanwhile, hit its best level since the dot-com crash, gaining 26.87 points, or 0.63 percent to 4,318.93.

    On the Philippine bourse, financials added 0.09 percent, or 1.33 points to 1,558.01, while industrials rose 1.6 percent, or 155.62 points to 9,908.42.

    Holding firms climbed 0.96 percent, or 55.55 points to 5,822.72, and services firmed 0.61 percent, or 11.56 points to settle at 1,895.16.

    Mining and oil gained 100.03 points, or 0.70 percent, to 14,305.04, while property advanced 58.99 points, or 2.43 percent to 2,490.72.

    Only International Container Terminal Services Inc. and SM Investments Corp. registered price losses among the most actively traded stocks.

    Gainers among the most actively traded equities included JG Summit Holdings Inc., Ayala Land Inc., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Megaworld Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., Ayala Corp., DMCI Holdings Inc. and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.

    Advancers beat decliners, 104 to 57, while 51 shares were unchanged. Value turnover grew to P11 billion from 1.6 billion traded shares.

    On Thursday, the PSEi inched up by 0.51 percent, or 32.19 points to 6,345, while the broader all-shares index added 0.37 percent, or 14.14 points to close at 3,832.40.

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