PSEi inches up on month-end window-dressing means BUSINESS

MANILA - (UPDATED 4:40 p.m.) A late rally on Friday lifted Philippine share prices to just a few notches below the 5,200 level amid month-end window-dressing and as investors digested the recent domestic economic growth numbers.

At the Philippine Stock Exchange, the composite index shot up 46.88 points or 0.91 percent to close at 5,196.19.

All sub-indices finished in positive territory led by the services counter, which rose 1.38 percent.

Advancers beat decliners, 88 to 71, while 39 issues were unchanged. A total of 2.06 billion stocks worth P7.36 billion changed hands.

Actively traded stocks were Metrobank, Meralco, Alliance Global, SM Investments and PLDT.

Top gainers were Vivant, 2GO and Boulevard Holdings, while the biggest losers were ATN Holdings, Omico and Highlands Prime.

"What we saw was a second wind reaction to the improvement in GDP numbers for the second quarter. The market bottomed out yesterday at 5,150 and even fell to as low as 5,110 today, thus inviting bargain hunters to enter the market," said Freya Natividad, investment analyst at

On Thursday, the National Statistical Coordination Board said the Philippines' gross domestic product growth eased to 5.9 percent in the second quarter from the revised 6.3 percent in the previous quarter. This brought the first-half economic expansion to 6.1 percent, faster than last year's 4.2 percent, and at the high end of the government's full-year target range of 5-6 percent.

Overnight, US investors dumped risky assets earlier in the day after the Dow Jones industrial average fell 106.77 points, or 0.8 percent, to finish at 13,000.71 on worries about the euro zone.

"The gains of the market were during the run-up period which coincided with the fact that it's the last day of month and large funds are doing month-end window dressing and positioning ahead of Bernanke's talk," said Jose Vistan of AB Capital Securities Inc.

US Fed chief Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak during a meeting of central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday. Investors will closely watch Bernanke's speech for hints of further stimulus, which has bolstered appetite in equities in the past.