• STOCKS FLAT AMID HOLIDAYS BUT

    PSEi up at new record

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    The Philippine stock market closed with a slightly positive bias, with news of overseas Filipino workers’ remittances hitting new highs in 2014 tilting the benchmark index further into record territory.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up 0.11 percent or 8.75 points to settle at 7,793.40, while the All Shares index firmed 0.28 percent or 12.50 points to 4,522.65.

    Luis Limlingan, managing director at Regina Capital Development Corp., noted the drop in trade volume as the US holiday provided no leads for the region, but the impact of the positive remittance news on the local market more than made up for it.

    “I think there was a lack of international participation in the market because of the US President’s Day, while investors in the regional counterparts are in the midst of celebrating the Chinese New Year. They want to stay away from the market (for now), which led to thin trade today,” Limlingan said.

    “It was mainly flat. Volume was thin at P6.6 billion. It was mainly driven by the positive news of remittances, but was rather quiet in terms of international participation,” he added.

    Remittances by OFWs for full-year 2014 rose 6.2 percent to $26.93 billion, exceeding the central bank’s growth target of 5 percent for the year and setting a new record.

    The market found enough support from the data, combined with the easing of tensions between Ukraine and Russia, and stood firm against the negative impact of reports about the collapse of talks over Greece’s debt bailout, Limlingan said.

    “For the next few days, it will be even quieter. We expect the same volume. We see profit-taking right before the [Chinese New Year] holiday [on Thursday, Feb 19]. We are now at 7,800 resistance, and it is hard to break through that. Assuming there’s no other market-moving event, then I see profit-taking soon,” Limlingan said.

    The Holding Firms index showed a soft bias, dipping 0.06 percent, while the rest gained, led by the property counter with a 0.79 percent increase.

    Companies that were most actively traded finished mixed— Ayala Corp. was flat; decliners included Universal Robina Corp., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., DMCI Holdings Inc., and SM Investments Corp.; while Megaworld Corp., Energy Development Corp., Ayala Land Inc., and First Gen Corp. led the advancers.

    Total volume of trade on Tuesday dropped to 1.72 billion shares from Monday’s 2.46 billion shares, but value rose slightly to P6.65 billion from P6.3 billion. Gainers outnumbered decliners 93 to 81, while 48 issues closed unchanged.

    On Monday, the PSEi closed with a gain of 0.14 percent or 11.20 points at 7,784.65, while the All Shares index inched up by 0.09 percent or 4.15 points to 4,510.15.

    Trading on Thursday will be suspended in observance of the Chinese New Year festivities in the country.

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