PSEi closes at new all-time high
- Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) - October 4, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The local stock index closed at a new record high yesterday, shrugging off the weakness in the US and Asian markets, as investors banked on the improvement in the country’s economic prospects.

The benchmark Philipine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 26.84 points or 0.5 percent to close at a record 5,375.52 on speculation the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will cut interest rates by another 25 basis points before the end of the year.

Foreign buying reached P3.09 billion, exceeding foreign selling of P2.72 billion.

Around 7.57 billion shares valued at P6.23 billion changed hands yesterday. But losers outpaced gainers, 84 to 68, while 55 issues were unchanged.

SM Investments Corp., the listed flagship firm of retail tycoon Henry Sy led all index gainers, rising 2.7 percent to close at P760 apiece. Power utility giant Meralco also had a strong finish at P274 or an increase of 3.79 percent.

 Accord Capital Equities Inc.’s Jun Calaycay said the “start of the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2013 elections bring focus to expectations of an expected surge in consumer spending.” 

He said the Aquino government’s year-end stimulus package should also be the leading growth drivers moving forward.

“The challenge to break past the 5,350 mark is heavily burdened by the pessimism borrowed from a still heightened concern over a slower global growth arising out of Europe’s protracted struggle against its debt levels, a US economy that has failed to gain heavy traction and fresh concerns over China’s economy, not to mention the geopolitical tensions with japan and the Philippines over disputed islands and the rising violence in parts of the Middle East,” Calaycay noted. 

Philex Mining Corp.,meanwhile, continued its downward trend, shedding 3.57 percent to close at P14.06 per share on news that the company could lose its permit to operate the damaged Padcal mine.

The Environmental Management Bureau said the sediments discharged from the Padcal site violated the terms of the environmental compliance certificate.

Around Asia, stocks flattened out as skittish investors waited for a key US jobs report later in the week that will signal whether the world’s largest economy is on the mend.

The US Labor Department will release employment data for September on Friday. While the US economy shows signs of resilience, thanks in part to rising car sales and home prices, hiring has remained too sluggish to reduce high unemployment, which is at 8.1 percent.

The US economy also is at risk for falling off a “fiscal cliff” early next year. That’s when tax increases and deep spending cuts take effect unless Congress reaches a budget deal. If those measures do take effect, the economy could fall into recession.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.5 percent 8,744.02 after a morning excursion into positive territory. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped marginally to 20,836.87 after opening higher.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.1 percent to 4,439, a day after the country’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point in response to global economic uncertainties.

Markets in mainland China and South Korea were closed for public holidays.

Wall St stalled Tuesday after Spain’s prime minister said that he’s not preparing a request for a bailout. – With AP

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