• Stock market to consolidate ahead of GDP data

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    The local market will likely go on a consolidation mode ahead of the release of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) result for the first quarter, which is expected on Thursday.

    Unicapital Securities Inc. research head Lexter Azurin said investors will take their cue from the GDP figure, which should largely dictate the mood of the local market.

    “This week, the market is anticipating one major data coming from the local side. The release of the first quarter GDP is expected to happen this week. It may give the market direction, whether it will go up or continue to go down,” he said.

    The government has set a conservative GDP growth target of 6 percent for the first quarter, significantly slower than the 7.7 percent pace recorded in the same period last year. The economy grew by 7.2 percent in 2013. The official growth target range for 2014 is from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent.

    UK-based investment bank Barclays forecasts 6 percent growth for the country for the first quarter, while Standard Chartered Bank revised upward its forecast from 6.7 percent to 7.1 percent. Moody’s Analytics forecast first quarter GDP growth at 6.7 percent.

    “If targets are met or surpassed, the index could possibly tap 6,900 [points]because it would mean our economy is growing faster than other Asian countries,” Azurin said.

    While the market is awaiting the GDP result, the index may continue to consolidate, Azurin added.

    Leads from overseas will also likely influence the market’s direction this week, said Justino Calaycay, analyst at Capital Equities Corp.

    “A military coup in Thailand dubbed by its leaders as a ‘necessity,’ fresh positive indications on the US economy as well as some signs of stirrings in China, a record close for the S&P500 leading a generally bullish Friday in global equities, and a weekend election for members of the European Parliament are but some of the issues that could sway sentiment in the week of trading ahead,” Calaycay said.

    Local investors ignored firmer overseas markets on Friday and opted to take profit after several days of a run up, sending the main index down 0.28 percent.

    Azurin said the correction was mainly due to profit-taking since Philippine shares had been registering significant gains over the past trading days.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) retreated 19.25 points to 6,811.33 at the end of the week, with the broader all shares losing 10.09 points or 0.25 percent to 4,063.63.

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