Stocks up for 5th day

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    Share prices ended up Wednesday as investors bet for the further reopening of the economy.

    The Philippine Stock Exchange index was up 16.60 points to 7,082.15, a 0.23 percent hike. The broader all shares index was up 10.88 points to 4,260.81, a 0.26 percent hike.

    Gainers edged losers 130 to 91 with 44 stocks unchanged. Trading turnover reached P11.67 billion.

    The peso closed at 48.038 to the dollar, up from 48.04 on Tuesday.

    The currency opened at 48.04 and hit a high of 48.034 and a low of 48.045. Trading turnover reached $897.5 million.

    SB Equities Inc. said the market ended up for a fifth day “on continued optimism over prospects of a further economic reopening in March and expectations the central bank would sustain its accommodative monetary policy stance by keeping the policy rate unchanged on Thursday.”

    Reuters reported the market hit its highest level in nearly three weeks.

    Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate steady at a record low on Thursday, brushing aside a projected uptick in inflation to support the country’s pandemic-hit economy, a Reuters poll showed.

    BSP would likely look through a recent increase in inflation and maintain an easy monetary policy stance, Standard Chartered analysts wrote in a note. Annual inflation hit its highest level in two years in January.

    Further aiding sentiment, the government raised P221.2 billion at an auction of three-year retail treasury bonds on Tuesday, proceeds from which will fund the government’s national budget. But analysts remained wary about the pace of economic recovery.

    “The economy remains quarters away from returning to pre-pandemic levels of GDP,” said ING senior economist Nicholas Mapa.

    Most actively traded Dito CME Holdings Corp. was up P1.22 to P17.10. Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. was up P0.50 to P57.50. Apollo Global Capital Inc. was down P0.014 to P0.236. BDO Unibank Inc. was down P5.20 to P1.07.30. Premier Horizon Alliance Corp. was up P0.19 to P3.13. Basic Energy Corp. was up P0.13 to P1.19. SM Investments Corp. was up P22 to P1,078. Ayala Land Inc. was up P0.20 to P40.50. SM Prime Holdings Inc. was up P0.50 to P38.10.