Philippine shares close 0.76 percent higher

MANILA -- Philippine share prices closed 0.76 percent higher Thursday as bargain-hunters inspired by Wall Street's overnight gains came into the market after four straight sessions of losses, dealers said.

The Philippine Stock Exchange composite index added 9.78 points to close at 1,297.89 after trading between 1,296.04 and 1,303.88.

Gainers led losers 27 to 13, with 43 stocks unchanged.

Turnover was 168.23 million shares worth 309.87 million pesos after 1.22 billion shares worth 354.07 million pesos on Wednesday.

The all-shares index was up 5.52 points at 793.08.

The commercial-industrial index gained 22.34 to 1,913.08, while property rose 1.05 to 570.86.

Mining and oil were unchanged at 1,285.00 1.36, respectively.

Banking and financial services shed 0.68 to 426.05.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) led the local gainers following the overnight advance of its New York-listed American Depositary Receipts on the company's positive earnings outlook.

"The market closed in positive territory on two major factors. One, the market had seen losses in recent sessions on foreign selling and, two, the US market gained quite strongly," said Andrew Long of ATR Kim-Eng Securities.

He said Moody's Investors Services' outlook downgrade on the Philippines' foreign currency borrowing to negative from stable, due to growing political uncertainties ahead of next year's polls, has likely now been discounted by the market.

While Long sees the gains as sustainable, given the fact that a number of stocks, including some blue chips, remain at low price levels, he said reports of weak government revenue collections are a concern and may undermine sentiment or limit any further upside.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs said their September collections could be below respective targets of 32.575 billion pesos and 8.693 billion pesos, raising the possibility that the budget deficit for the month may have exceeded the ceiling.

The government's budget deficit stood at 113.50 billion pesos in the eight months to August, still below the ceiling of 127.50 billion pesos.

However, the deficit for August alone was 18.17 billion pesos, exceeding the 8.11 billion-peso ceiling as the government spent more to boost a slowing economy. It was the first time in five months that the deficit exceeded the monthly ceiling.

Analysts said the local bourse's gains were limited as investors await fresh positive leads and the release of third-quarter corporate earnings reports.

Top-traded PLDT closed 30 pesos higher at 670, while Globe Telecom rose five pesos to 700.

Bank of the Philippine Islands extended its losses, closing down 50 centavos to 41 pesos.

Manila Electric Co. B, available to foreign investors, gained 75 centavos to 23.25 pesos, while Meralco A was up 50 centavos to 15 pesos.

Ayala Land was up 10 centavos to 6.30 pesos and parent Ayala Corp. was unchanged at 4.80 pesos.

25/02/2006

Bron : Sun Star

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