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RP stock market jumps to its over two-year high Wednesday

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The Philippine market jumped to its more than two-year high on Wednesday, mimicking mostly the performance of the US market.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index closed at 3,166. 60, 1.19 percent higher from the previous day's close and its highest level since Feb. 21, 2008 when it finished at 3,176.06.

The broader all share index was also up by 0.19 percent or 17. 93 points to 1,984.10.

A number of investors participated on Wednesday's trading where 1.02 billion shares worth P3.77 billion ($82.73 million) were changed hands. Foreign buyers outnumber sellers, leaving behind a net foreign buying of P302 million ($6.6 million).

Advancers beat decliners 70 to 29 while 72 stocks did not move.

Of the six counters, only the service sector tumbled after stock price of heavyweight Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. slipped. Property shares meanwhile led the rally.

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"The Philippine equities took its cue from the US market and following the commitment of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that it will not move the interest rates until the second half," Erwin Balita of SB Equities, Inc. said.

A better-than-expected home sales report pushed up the Dow Jones industrial average to its 18-month high 10,888.83.

Locally, the central bank said it sees no immediate need to increase interest rates-at least for the first half- since inflation remains stable.

Balita said the local central bank's announcement somehow allayed investors' fear that it is still too soon to increase the country's interest rates.

"The BSP's announced it with confidence that it is not going to raise rates. They also gave a time frame (and this convinces investors that the low interest rates environment will still continue at least in the first half)," he said.

After the market breached the 3,100 level resistance level, Balita said it is possible that the local equities will sustain its upward trend. This, he said, is banked on the premise that the positive developments locally and overseas will continue.

"Right now, some investors are still cautious of what the May election will bring. But right now it seems as if the money is entering the emerging markets like the Philippines...economic growth in Asia is better compared with other countries," Balita said.

This, the analyst said, is evidenced by the entry of foreign investors. "It will just confirm the outlook that emerging markets in Asia are in a better (situation)," he said.

Except for heavyweight Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., most stocks in the 30-company index closed higher. These issues include Ayala Land, Inc., Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. and Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc.

Stock price of Philex Mining Corp., a local unit of Hong Kong firm First Pacific Co. Ltd. and Philippines' largest mining company, also went up by 1.92 percent to settle at P13.25 ($0.29) per share. The mining company confirmed to the local bourse on Wednesday its interest in partnering with the local government for the exploration of the Mt. Diwalwal gold rush in Southern Mindanao.


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