PH stocks resume record-breaking finish

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The local stock market charged further ahead into record territory, fueled by strong full- year 2014 corporate earnings and optimism about the economy’s first-quarter performance while interest in global and Asian equities ebbed on Wednesday.

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The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) advanced right at the open and ended with a gain of 71.32 points or 0.92 percent to 7,847.83, the 18th time this year the index finished at an all-time high.

The wider All Shares index added 32.24 points or 0.71 percent to 4,557.31.

Wednesday’s uptick in the benchmark index broke the previous closing peak of 7,844.06 recorded on Feb 25.

Other markets in Asia traded weak following overnight losses on Wall Street, which drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) down 85.29 points, the S&P down 9.61 and the Nasdaq down 28.20.

Astro del Castillo, First Grade Finance Inc. managing director, said the local market made investors turn their heads to look into the “positive growth story” of the Philippines.

“Despite the weakness in Asian markets and the Dow Jones, we managed to trek higher. It is because of generally positive full-year 2014 corporate earnings, an anticipated lower inflation and anticipated increases in first-quarter earnings. Investors are turning their heads again toward this market,” del Castillo said in a brief phone interview.

The local mining and oil index was the sole loser in Wednesday’s trade, while the property index led gainers with a 2.05 percent increase.

Profiting from the country’s positive growth story, gainers came mostly from the property sector, led by Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), both SM Investments Corp. and SM Prime Holdings Inc., as well as Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC).

ALI and SM in particular climbed on the back of favorable inflation figures. Castillo said interest rates are expected to stay “well within the BSP’s [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas] targets and will not go up anytime soon. For the month of February, investors are anticipating lower inflation,” del Castillo said.

Other major gainers on Wednesday were Security Bank Corp., BDO Unibank Inc., Universal Robina Corp. and Alliance Global Group Inc., while active decliners were Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Semirara Mining and Power Corp., and Megaworld Corp.

Total volume of trade stood at 1.54 billion shares, while value turnover reached P9.19 billion. Advancers led decliners 111 to 69, while 42 issued closed unchanged.

In the next few days, trading would be healthier if the market would correct given the high valuations at present, del Castillo said.

“The previous correction lasted only for a short time. There seems to be momentum buying as optimism among investors is present. It will be much healthier for the market to consolidate in the next few days,” he said.

In the next few days, trading will be influenced by more disclosures on first-quarter earnings and the start of the annual stockholders meetings’ season.

On Tuesday, the PSEi ended flat, or just 0.03 percent or 2.59 points firmer at 7,776.51, and the All Shares index up 0.006 percent or 0.28 points at 4,525.07.

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