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Continued bargain-hunting boosts share prices

Share prices closed 1.89 percent higher yesterday as the market snapped back on bargain-hunting after hitting six-month lows Wednesday amid concerns over the future of President Arroyo, dealers said.


They said some investors looked past President Arroyo’s problems to take positions in companies expected to report strong first half earnings but overall, quick profit-taking is likely given the shaky political environment and the pressure on the peso.


The Philippine Stock Exchange composite index rose 34.28 points to 1,847.32 after trading between 1,813.04 and 1,851.62. Turnover was 573.36 million shares worth P1.5 billion.


The broader all-shares index rose 14.10 points to 1,135.85.


Gainers beat losers 58 to 16, with 33 stocks steady.


"Investors bought oversold stocks although some of them were looking for quick profits given the volatile state of the market," said Mark Alan Canizares of Citiseconline.com.


The equities market as well as the peso have fallen as the opposition has stepped up calls for President Arroyo to resign following allegations that she cheated her way to victory in last year’s election.


A Supreme Court ruling halting the collection of a newly-passed expanded value-added tax (EVAT) have compounded President Arroyo’s worries and casts doubt on the government’s efforts to remedy a chronic budget deficit.


"Investors would likely be in wait-and-see mode until next week when the Supreme Court begins its hearings on the VAT law," said Nina Tinio of Unicapital Securities.


The peso’s prevailing weakness against the dollar is another disincentive to trade, she added.


Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) was the most active stock, adding P35 to P1,565.


Bank of the Philippine Islands advanced 50 centavos to P45.50.


Ayala Corp. gained P7.50 to P280 and unit Ayala Land rose 40 centavos to P7.40.


SM Investments fell P6 to P249 while subsidiary SM Prime gained 10 centavos to P7.30.


San Miguel A was unchanged at P60 and San Miguel B gained 50 centavos to P92. – AFP

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