• Share prices hit 15-mth high

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    SHARE prices on the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday drove the benckmark index to its highest level in 15 months, with small board issues claiming most of the gains.

    Investors are now selective, as the big board stocks have become “fully valued.” “So you don’t see much big upswings,” he noted adding that the small board is where the action is, said Victor Benavidez of Alakor Securities Inc.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) closed at 8,102.30, up 50.33 points or 0.62 percent. It was the highest level for the index since April 10, 2015 when it registered the all-time high of 8,127.48 point. Year-to-date, the PSEi has increased 16.5 percent. The broader All Shares index, meanwhile added 25.49 points or 0.53 percent to close at 4,828.14.

    Asian markets also moved up as traders—following a fresh Wall Street record that saw the Dow and S&P 500 closing at all-time highs—were pumped up by strong corporate results and expectations of fresh stimulus.

    In Tokyo where profit taking caused a slight stumble on Tuesday and Wednesday, the market rallied and the index Nikkei ended 0.8 percent higher, boosted by reports that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eyeing a package of at least 20 trillion yen—about double the size initially expected—to kick start the economy from years of slumber and light a fire under torpid inflation.

    Other stock markets followed suit, with Hong Kong rising 0.5 percent to end above 22,000 for the first time since December 24; Shanghai climbed 0.4 percent; Sydney added 0.4 percent; and Wellington added 0.6 percent and Taipei 0.5 percent up.

    The uptick on the Philippine Stock Exchange, however, was sparked mainly by investors’ confidence that the nation’s economy continue to gain strength.

    “We see local and foreign investor confidence getting a boost from expectations that the Philippine economy will continue to outperform its peers. This should hopefully reflect in corporate performance,” said PSE’s president and chief executive officer, Hans Sicat.

    Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc., also noted that the market is “taking Duterte’s rating [91 percent approval rating] as a positive sign that he is on the right track.” Ravelas thinks that PSEi is on track to test 8,136-mark.

    Total value turnover was high at P10.4 billion, with losers outnumbering winners, 118 to 78, while 48 issues were unchanged.

    All sub-indices ended in the positive territory with the property firms enjoying the biggest gain with 1.35 percent. The mining and oil sector was the exception, falling 0.48 percent.

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