SOARING OIL PRICES, EVAT CONTINUE TO DEPRESS MARKET
MANILA, August 26, 2005 (STAR) Share prices closed flat yesterday with the slightest of gains by bargain hunters proving enough to end eight straight days of declines, dealers said.
They said investors remained cautious over high crude prices while awaiting a Supreme Court decision on whether it would approve a crucial expanded value added tax (EVAT.)
The Philippine Stock Exchange composite index rose 1.53 points to 1,925.68 after trading between 1,928.67 and 1,921.98 points.
Volume reached 226.6 million shares valued at P529.4 million.
"Investors are reluctant to enter the market in the absence of inspiring news and with oil prices soaring to record levels, which will put more upward pressure on inflation and interest rates," said Lawrence de Leon of Accord Capital Equities.
Rommel Macapagal of Westlink Global Equities said the local market could be building a base at 1,920 points.
But support for this level will depend on the direction of oil prices and the Supreme Court’s decision the EVAT which is expected this month.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. was the most active stock, ending unchanged at P1,540.
Second top-traded SM Investments retreated P3 to P213. Its unit, shopping mall developer SM Prime Holdings ended steady at P7.10.
"The market is taking a breather after eight straight sessions of losses," said Citiseconline.com investment analyst Mark Alan Canizares.
Providing the biggest boost to the main index were BPI, up two percent at P52, and Ayala Land, up 1.2 percent at P8.30.
Capping the market’s rise was San Miguel B, which fell 0.5 percent to P97.50, which may partly be due to the denial issued yesterday by Lion Nathan that the Philippines’ largest food and beverage conglomerate has approached the Australian beer brewer to acquire a stake.
Gainers led decliners 32 to 25, while 50 stocks were unchanged.
Canizares doubts the market’s uptick is sustainable for the near term.
"More consolidation is expected with a negative bias for tomorrow’s session, and oil prices are being used as an excuse to take profit," he said.
The market was largely neutral to the latest import data released by the government earlier yesterday, as investors were more preoccupied with high oil prices, the status of the EVAT law and the ongoing political crisis, traders said. – AFP, AP
News editor-in-chief: Sol Jose Vanzi
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