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NEWS UPDATES 8 October 2010

Philippine financials climb on upgrade

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For a second day in a row, the Philippine peso reached another new two-year high on Thursday against the dollar as the local stock market breached the 4,200-level following the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) upgrade of its growth forecast for the Philippines.

At the Philippine Dealing System, the local currency reached 43.30 to the greenback or 20 centavos stronger than the 43.50 finish during the previous trading day.

"You cannot reverse the trend. It's a strong peso versus a weak dollar. The exchange rate will probably correct for a day, but it will rally the next day. It's because of the strong flows into emerging markets economies," Marcelo Ayes, senior vice president at RCBC, said.

According to traders, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas was "aggressively" buying dollars in the morning session, shelling out about $400 million.

Total trading volume eased to $1.195 billion from $1.337 billion the previous trading day.

At the Philippine Stock Exchange, the composite index added 48.32 points or 1.15 percent to 4,245.05, while the broader all-shares index gained 35.91 points or 1.36 percent to 2,676.

Market breadth, however, was negative as losers beat gainers, 70 to 54, while 56 stocks were unchanged. A total of 1.26 billion stocks worth P5.01 billion were traded.

"The euphoria is still there. Investors continue to be happy with the string of economic data not only in the local scene but in the global markets as well," Astro del Castillo of First Grade Holdings said.

The IMF said the Philippines could become this year's second fastest-growing economy after Thailand among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-5.

To boost market activity, Val Antonio Suarez, PSE president, said the bourse plans to double the number of active investors in the stock market by 2011. The local equities market has 400,000 active investors, which trade at least once a year.

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