, JUNE 19, 2007 (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY) MARKET BULL RUN CONTINUOUS: - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo graced today the listing of some 3.13 billion common shares of stock of Alliance Global Group, Inc. (AGGI) worth P17.8 billion at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in Makati City, as stock prices vaulted to new record highs.

At the close of trading today, the 29-company composite index rose 9.26 points or 0.25 percent at 3,680.55 -- a new record topping the May 22 trading finish.

The AGGI follow-on stock offering, touted as the single largest in the history of PSE, resumed today after it was suspended on June 4.

AGGI President and Chief Operating Officer Kingson Sian said his company evolved from a one-product line manufacturing company to a conglomerate due to the "continued efforts (of government) to develop the stock market."

He pointed out that favorable developments in the country, bannered by the buoyant economy and the strong peso, have caught the "readers’ screen of investors."

Sian said AGGI’s follow-on offering "underscores the bullish investor sentiment anchored on improving economic fundamentals."

The bulls are loose at the PSE as stock prices continue to soar rapidly. Last Friday, stock prices hit a new all-time high, soaring 42.67 points or 1.17 percent to 3,671.29 while the value turnover swelled to P9 billion.

Analysts said they expect the bull run to continue and possibly even breach the 3,800-4,000 level in the short term due to positive economic and corporate numbers.

The economy, measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), posted a 6.9 percent growth during the first quarter of 2007. The strongest GDP performance in the last 17 years, the new record was attributed to the rise in exports, increased household consumption, higher government spending, and growing investor confidence.

AGGI is the holding company of real estate tycoon Andrew Tan of Megaworld Corporation. It owns 49 percent of the local franchise of MacDonald’s food chain and has recently acquired local brandy maker Emperador Distillers, Inc. for P3 billion.

AGGI started as a manufacturer of glass containers.


Stocks, peso stage rally Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The stock market set a new record high for a third day yesterday, boosted by rosy economic prospects, gains in Wall Street and a strong demand from foreign investors.

The benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) composite index gained 9.20 points, or 0.25 percent, to settle at 3,680.55, surpassing Friday’s record close of 3,671.29 points.

“The buildup of foreign investments is fueling the market’s record-breaking run,”PSE president and chief executive officer Francis Lim said yesterday.

Net foreign buying rose to P46.56 billion in the first five months of the year from P25.01 billion in the same period last year.

The market’s still got momentum because of Wall Street’s strong gains last Friday, but we encouraged resistance at the 3,700-point level,” said Rommel Macapagal of Westlink Global Equities.

At the Philippine Dealing System (PDS), the peso rose by 47 centavos to close at 45.920 from Friday’s close of 45.390 to a dollar. Yesterday’s 47-centavo gain was the biggest advance in two weeks on continued strong dollar remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“You cannot escape the fact that remittances will push the peso to better levels,” said Ricky Cebrero, treasurer at East West Banking Corp.

OFW remittances surged by 33 percent to hit $1.2 billion in April, the 12th straight month that the figure has topped the $1 billion mark.

Top gainers

Ayala Land, jumped P1, or 5.6 percent, to P18.75, a record close. Filinvest Land added four centavos, or 2.1 percent, to P1.98.

A slower US inflation also helped Philippine stocks climb today, according to Peter Raymond Lee, senior investment officer at Manila-based IGC Securities Inc.

“The expectation is shifting from rising inflation and high bond yields to growth without stoking inflation,” Lee said. “The shift into equities is still ongoing.”

A US Labor Department report said June 15 that the increase in core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy, slowed to 0.1 percent last month from 0.2 percent in April, easing concerns interest rates will go up in the biggest overseas market for Philippine products.

Jollibee Foods Corp. added P1, or 1.9 percent, to P55. Class B shares of Manila Electric Co., stocks that have no ownership restrictions in the nation’s largest power company, climbed P1, or one percent, to 99, extending last week’s 4.3 percent advance.

Easier debt repayment

Separately, Manila Water Co., which services half of Manila, climbed 25 centavos, or 2.1 percent, to P12. The company said it will reduce water rates next month because the stronger peso has made it cheaper to pay its foreign-currency denominated debt.

Alliance Global, part owner of the McDonald’s Corp. franchise in the Philippines, was unchanged at P6.40, its first day of trading after a two-week suspension to complete an P18 billion share sale.

The company, which also owns shares in Megaworld Corp., and a shareholder sold about 3.1 billion shares at P5.75 each earlier this month.

Gainers outnumbered losers 71 to 49, with 51 stocks unchanged in the broader market. Boosted by the completed share sale of Alliance Global, the value of trades reached P9.35 billion, 95 percent more than the six-month daily average.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), the nation’s largest phone company, lost P55, or two percent, to P2,650, its biggest decline in more than two weeks. The company said it may take a stake in Philcom Corp. by swapping into shares the debts owed to it by the rival phone operator. — AP

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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