RP POSITIVE  ECONOMIC  OUTLOOK,  WALL  STREET  GAINS  BOOST  MARKET

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 27, 2006
(STAR) Shares advanced yesterday, spurred by gains on Wall Street overnight and sustained confidence in the country’s economic outlook.

The benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 12.80 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,544.48, after edging up 0.001 percent Monday.

First Grade Holdings managing director Astro del Castillo said the 0.6 percent advance in the Dow Jones Industrial Average Monday provided investors an excuse to take advantage of Monday’s lull and accumulate stocks.

"The country’s strong fundamentals are also supporting the market," he said.

Blue chip Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) was the most actively traded stock, up 1.6 percent at P2,255 on heavy volume of P194,380 shares traded, following the 0.5 percent rise in the company’s American depositary receipts in New York Monday.

Among other active stocks, Equitable PCI Bank rose 0.7 percent to P75.50 as some investors rotated funds into lagging stocks. The country’s third largest lender was expected to eventually merge with affiliate Banco de Oro to form the country’s largest commercial bank, analysts said. Banco de Oro closed down 1.3 percent at P38.50.

Global Equities rose 3.6 percent to 0.58 centavos following the holding company’s announcement last week it was entering a mining venture.

Capping the market’s upside, Ayala Land lost 1.7 percent to P14.50 on continued profit-taking since the stock hit a 52-week high of P15.25 on Sept. 21.

"This is a positive for investors looking at the Philippines to park their money in the long term,’’ said Grace Cerdenia, head of research at 2TradeAsia.com in Manila.

Ayala, the country’s largest holding company, added P7.50, or 1.6 percent, to P470. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), the country’s largest phone company, gained P35, or 1.6 percent, to 2,255.

Megaworld Corp. climbed two centavos, or 1.l percent, to P1.90.

Yesterday’s gain extended the PSEi’s climb this quarter to 17 percent, the biggest advance among Asian benchmarks.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said yesterday the improvement in the government’s tax revenue and "relative political stability’’ will help the country get a better credit rating outlook in six months. – AP


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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