• Stocks rally on PH upgrade by Moody’s

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    The local stock market closed the week back to where it was above the 7,200-point level, drawing support from Moody’s upgrade of the Philippines’ sovereign credit rating.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 2.15 percent or 152.11 points to close Friday’s session at 7,224.21, while the wider All Shares index rose 1.83 percent or 76.06 points to 4,238.28.

    Moody’s Investor Service upgraded the Philippines’ credit rating to Baa2 from Baa3, citing the country’s efforts to reduce debt levels aided by improvements in fiscal management, as well as favorable prospects for strong economic growth and limited vulnerability to the common risks currently affecting emerging markets.

    Astro del Castillo, First Grade Finance Inc. managing director, said in a brief phone interview that Friday’s advance was also helped by improved sentiment on the global markets.

    “It is definitely because of the surprise gift from Moody’s, the surprise of an upgrade. Also, the reverse of sentiment from global markets — Asian, European and US markets alike,” del Castillo said.

    On Wall Street overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 63.19 points, the S&P 500 added 9.19 points, and Nasdaq advanced 24.14 points.

    Del Castillo said the positive close for the local bourse this week may jumpstart the so-called Santa Claus rally associated with the Christmas festivities, but added that gains may be limited compared to expectations prior to the market’s recent downturn.

    “We’ll see the trend and news for the following days but the upside will just be small — maybe about 7,200 points to 7,300 points by year-end,” he said.

    Sectoral indices all finished in positive territory. Financials edged 2.39 percent or 39.49 points higher to 1,694.74; industrials advanced 1.43 percent or 167.82 points to 11,924.00; holding firms climbed 1.43 percent or 89.50 points to 6,329.25; services jumped by 2.75 percent or 56.11 points to 2,097.76; mining and oil rose 1.24 percent or 189.37 points to 15,409.71 and Property added 2.60 percent or 71.30 points to 2,816.96.

    Active issues advancing on Friday included SM Prime Holdings Inc., Universal Robina Corp., BDO Unibank Inc., Energy Development Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., Bloomberry Resorts Corp., PLDT, Ayala Corp., Ayala Land Inc. and SM Investments Corp.

    Shares traded reached 1.81 billion, amounting to P11.61 billion.
    Advancers overwhelming led decliners, 128 to 49, while 44 issues were unchanged.

    On Thursday, the benchmark stock index closed down 102.98 points or 1.44 percent at 7,072.10, while the wider All Shares index erased 58.67 points or 1.39 percent to 4,162.22.

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