• Stock market rises on BSP rate freeze

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    Philippine shares ended the week higher, with Friday gains fueled by positive market reaction to the central bank’s decision to keep its key rates steady.

    Although the market had expected the rates of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to remain unchanged for now in the absence of any serious inflation risk, the strong Wall Street performance overnight made the local news more encouraging for investors, analysts said.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 0.76 percent or 58.86 points to close at 7,773.45, just a few points short of the all-time closing high of 7,782.57 recorded on Feb 9. But it stood higher than the 7,728.18 closing level a week earlier.

    The All Shares index edged up 0.64 percent or 28.86 points to 4,506.

    “The market closed strongly today on the back of the BSP’s positive statements on our macroeconomic health. (BSP Governor Amando) Tetangco also said interest rates can be kept on hold because of benign inflation. Strength in the US markets also helped the PSEi close higher today,” Miguel Agarao, investment analyst at Wealth Securities Inc., said.Agarao said.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 110.24 points, the S&P 500 up 19.95 points and the Nasdaq up 56.43 points.

    “We expect the market to remain strong, but a correction is now highly likely,” Agarao added.

    Jason Escartin of F. Yap Securities Inc. said steady interest rates and a lower-inflation outlook by the BSP supported buying throughout the day.

    “Some investors did check out the laggards, especially speculative stocks that have breached oversold levels. Long-term investors found another opportunity to take their medium-term bets, considering the steady rates, boosted by improved sentiment in the US markets,” Escartin added.

    Gainers were led by the industrial counter, which settled 1.33 percent higher.

    Of the most actively traded stocks, only Ayala Land Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. closed lower, while the rest rose such as Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, GT Capital Holdings Inc., First Gen Corp., Universal Robina Corp., and Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc.

    Trade volume reached 1.16 billion, valued at P8.89 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 111 to 68, while 47 issues finished unchanged.

    On Thursday, the bellwether PSEi climbed 0.37 percent or 28.16 points to 7,714.59, while the All Shares index rose 0.23 percent or 10.13 points to 4,477.14.

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