• Stocks close lower before BSP policy rate move

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    Share prices ended lower on Thursday before the central bank’s Monetary Board concluded its policy meeting and announced the hikes in key policy rates.

    Investors awaited the outcome of the meeting anxiously during trading hours but the session closed amid uncertainty over the rates, dealers said.

    The Monetary Board raised the benchmark overnight lending and borrowing rates of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) by 25 basis points each.

    Despite being in the green for most of the session, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) dipped 0.04 percent or 2.77 points to finish at 6,864.56, while the wider All Shares index gained slightly, adding 0.05 percent or 2.13 points to close at 4,112.56.

    Harry Liu, Summit Securities Inc. president, said the market factors remained the same, though with the added uncertainty during trading about interest rates and concern over the slight dip overnight in the US market.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped slightly overnight, off 0.19-percent or 31.75 points to 16,880.36, contributing to the local market’s dip.

    Noting early market gains, Liu said local equities were influenced by good corporate earnings results in the morning before retreating into the red due to worries on interest rates and the selling of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company’s (PLDT) shares.

    PLDT’s shares lost P20 or 0.65 percent to end at P3,050 on Thursday.

    Besides PLDT, top losers were Universal Robina Corp (down by 0.31 percent or P0.50 to P162.50); SM Prime Holdings Inc. (down by 1.67 percent or P0.26 to end at P15.32 per share), and SM Investments Corp (down by 0.13 percent or P1 to P797).

    Active gainers include Ayala Corp (up by 0.77 percent or P5 to close at P658), Ayala Land Inc. (up by 0.48 percent or P0.15 to P31.15) and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (up by 0.82 percent or P0.70 to P86).

    Among the sectoral indices, only services closed at a negative with a 0.53-percent decline or 11.13 points to 2,099.88, while the rest of the sectors gained. Mining and oil improved by 0.66 percent or 108.86 points to 16,718.73; property advanced by 0.15 percent or 3.74 points to 2,570.55; industrials went up by 0.10 percent or 10.09 points to 10,479.75; financials perked up a bit by 0.01 percent or 0.24 points to 1,634.22; while holding firms managed the narrowest of gains, up slightly by 0.007 percent or 0.45 points to close at 6,178.69.

    Total traded shares amounted to 653.265 million, equivalent to P7.469 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners, 93 to 82, while the unchanged stood at 51.

    “There is still no substantial change in the market, unless there was already news from the Monetary Board. There is more concern on local news than the international markets. The market is still steady, and still within range of 6,800 to 6,900,” Liu said.

    “[The stock exchange index] is just in a narrow range in short and medium term. If the market does not break the 6,600 level, there is no need to worry,” Liu said.

    Over the long term, Liu forecasted that the market may reach 7,000 by year-end, with the possibility to break near 8,000 next year fueled mainly by power companies.

    “It is better for the year-end 2014 and next year because of the increased budget spending, as well as the beginning of election campaign spending. Also, the market will be influenced by the presidentiables, if they will continue the positive or favorable sentiment from the people,” Liu said.

    “As long as it won’t decline from the 6,750 support by year-end, we are still on track,” he added.

    On Tuesday, the PSEi went up 0.25 percent or 17.12 points to 6,867.59, while the wider All Shares index inched up slightly by 0.04 percent or 1.55 points to 4,110.43.

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