• PH stocks rise ahead of MSCI rebalance

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    Philippine shares gained in late session trade as investors took positions in stocks perceived to possibly benefit from the periodic review of the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) emerging markets index.

    After trading in negative territory for most of the day, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) bounced back toward the close, finishing with a 0.19 percent gain, or 14.69 points at 7,777.90. The All Shares index was little changed, showing an unremarkable 0.007 percent or less than a point downward bias to 4,487.48.

    “Investors are mainly anticipating the quarterly MSCI rebalancing … as well as the releases of other first-quarter [earnings]results,” Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corp. managing director, said in a phone interview around the market close.

    Earlier trading was characterized by a “lack of volume,” with investors “waiting for other market movers.”

    The market showed no clear reaction to the move by the People’s Bank of China to cut its one-year lending rate by 0.25 percentage point to 5.1 percent and the one-year deposit rate also by a quarter percentage point to 2.25 percent, effective Monday.

    In the next few days, the Philippine market is likely to move sideways, indicating uncertainty in the overall reaction to the possible changes to the MSCI index and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Monetary Board interest rate decision when it meets on Thursday.

    DA Market Securities Inc. investment analyst Nisha Alicer said the market received a boost from speculation a US Federal Reserve interest rate hike will not happen that soon.

    The market has been trading sideways over the past few days, showing vulnerability given the recent record runs. “So it is a prudent move to take profit,” Alicer said.

    “We should keep an eye on the first-quarter earnings per stock. If the stock outpaces the consensus forecast, then it goes to show that’s [among]the more resilient stocks,” she added.

    Among the sectoral indices— three advanced and three retreated—with financials leading the gainers with a 0.73-percent increase, and mining and oil leading the decliners with a 0.44 percent loss.

    Of the most actively traded stocks, SM Prime Holdings Inc. ended flat, while top gainers included BDO Unibank Inc., Alliance Global Group Inc., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Bloomberry Resorts Corp. and GT Capital Holdings Inc. Active losers were Universal Robina Corp., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Puregold Price Club Inc. and SM Investments Corp.

    Total trade volume was 1.23 billion shares, valued at P5.73 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers 96 to 85, while 43 issues finished unchanged.

    In previous trade Friday, the bellwether PSEi slipped 0.68 percent or 53.06 points to 7,763.21, while the All Shares index dipped 0.62 percent or 28.11 points to 4,487.81.

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