• Stocks reach new high on window-dressing

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    The Philippine stock market reclaimed record territory on Thursday, backed by strong foreign fund inflows and window-dressing for the end of the quarter.

    “Expect the market to be strong until March 31 because of window-dressing. Sheer inflows are pushing the market higher,” Miguel Agarao, investment analyst at Wealth Securities Inc., said.

    Despite losing ground in early trade, the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rebounded toward the close with a 0.44 percent gain, or 34.76 points, at 7,871.10, a new record. It marked the 20th time this year the benchmark index ended at a new high, exceeded the previous closing peak of 7,861.33, posted on March 6.

    The wider All Shares index added 0.30 percent or 13.64 points to settle at 4,546.20.

    “The country’s benchmark index closed ahead of (topped) its Asian counterparts as investors (continued to) anticipate positive earnings results from more companies for full-year 2014. Investor confidence in our listed companies continues to sustain the upward trajectory of our market,” PSE Chief Operating Officer Roel Refran said.

    Since the start of the year, the PSEi has accumulated an 8.9 percent gain.

    Citisecurities Inc. Vice President Lawrence Lee said the sudden market boost came from the “exodus of funds from developed markets” that flowed back into the Philippines.

    “We still maintain our ‘sluggish climb’ outlook but underowned issues might have some upside from here. The weakness of the open(ing session) is from the drop in the US markets overnight,” Lee said.

    Among the sectoral indices, financials were the sole decliner, registering a 9-point dip, while the rest ended higher, led by mining and oil’s 126.61-point gain.

    Top gainers among the day’s most actively traded issues were Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, SM Investments Corp., Universal Robina Corp., Ayala Corp., GT Capital Holdings Inc. and JG Summit Holdings Inc.

    Advancers outnumbered decliners 94 to 79, while 40 issues ended unchanged. Total volume in Thursday’s trade reached 1.57 billion shares, valued at P9.5 billion.

    On Wednesday, the PSEi inched up 0.09 percent or 7.40 points to 7,836.34, while the All Shares index rose 0.13 percent or 5.74 points to 4,532.56.

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