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Local stocks end up in dull trade

MANILA (Xinhua) – Absence of new catalysts to inspire another round of bargain hunting and the continued political turmoil in the Middle East sent the Philippine equities trading flat on Monday.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index finished marginally up by 0.09 percent or 3.77 points to 3,886.48. The broader all-share index slipped by 0.11 percent or 3.33 points to 2,924.29.

Trading volume thinned down to 1.41 billion shares valued at 3. 51 billion pesos (81.06 million U.S. dollars). Decliners beat advancers 65 to 51 while 49 stocks did not move.

Of the six counters, only the industrial and the mining and oil sectors bucked the trend.

"The local market was mainly on a sideways movement Monday as investors await further developments in the Middle East and North Africa," DBP-Daiwa Securities, Inc. said.

The brokerage said investors are keenly watching the movement of oil prices which have been surging in the world market because of this recent socio-political turmoil in the conflict-torn regions.

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This has been mostly the theme of the equities markets worldwide during the past sessions. DBP-Daiwa Securities said investors feel that oil prices will continue to climb.

The U.S. market on Friday dropped 88 points over the same concerns even after the government showed an improvement in the country's job sector.

Analyst Justino Calaycay of Accord Capital Equities Corp. said for the week, investors will start factoring in the impact of higher inflation and this might put some selling pressure on the local equities.

"The market's technical conditions...show that the market's upside will be challenged, with investors seeking more, fresher leads to sustain a buying stance and avoiding the temptation to book early profits," Calaycay said.

Stocks in the 30-company index closed mixed. After its impressive rally last week, heavyweight Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. closed 0.61 percent lower Monday.

Budget airline Cebu Air, Inc. and Alliance Global Group, Inc. also closed in the negative.

In contrast, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. and Ayala Land, Inc. were among the market's gainers.

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