Inquirer: RP stocks keep gains amid news of stable political outlook

MANILA, Philippines — Local stocks firmed up for a second straight day on Tuesday as financial markets welcomed the possibility that an ally of newly installed President Aquino will clinch the House speakership.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index gained 23.97 points or 0.72 percent to close at 3,335.71 as investors welcomed prospects that the new President would find sufficient legislative backing. This is amid reports that former Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, a recent convert to Aquino’s Liberal party, could emerge as the next Speaker at the House of Representatives.

Most indices were up on modest gains except for the holding firm counter which has been slightly in the red. Trading volume, however, was still anemic at P2.25 billion, reflecting the cautious global investor sentiment.

Belmonte’s potential Speakership is seen not only giving a legislative boost to the fledgling Aquino presidency but also provides some stabilizing factor even if his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is back in Congress. “He won’t be under threat of impeachment all the time,” said Joseph Roxas, president of local brokerage Eagle Equities Inc.

There were 47 advancers as against 59 decliners and 58 unchanged stocks at the local market.

The US Independence Day holiday has kept markets range-bound, although there was a general risk-off bias already expected to afflict sentiment on Asian assets, according to investment bank Credit Agricole CIB.

The local stock market is now building support above the crucial 3,300 mark. Investors picked up shares of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Energy Development Corp., DMCI Holdings Inc., Semirara Mining Corp., Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. and Ayala Land Inc.

On the other hand, there was profit-taking on First Philippine Holdings Corp., SM Investments Corp. and Robinsons Land Corp.

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About Benedict Bernabe

Benedict Bernabe, 27. Benedict has a Master's degree in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne, Australia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in European Languages, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines Diliman. He has worked with the United Nations in the Philippines as the Community Facilitator of the Community of Practice on HIV&AIDS. He worked with Standard & Poor's Capital IQ, a financial information company, as researcher, translator and quality analyst in the investment research team. Prior to this, we worked at IBM Business Services. Benedict is a certified yoga teacher.

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