RP shares close 0.6% higher

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 18 2009 01:08 PM | Updated as of Mar 18 2009 09:58 PM

Philippine share prices closed 0.62 percent higher Wednesday as investors picked up battered local blue chips on the back of a Wall Street rally, dealers said.

The composite index added 10.95 points to 1,770.28.

Forty-five issues gained, 37 fell and 39 ended unchanged as the all-shares index added 7.79 points or 0.67 percent to 1,171.27 points.

Turnover reached 914.25 million shares worth P2.11 billion ($43.52 million).

The peso traded at an average of P48.459 to the dollar on Wednesday morning compared to P48.345 on Tuesday afternoon.

"Bargain-hunting on PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone) and property stocks, and the surprisingly strong US data are helping the market," Jose Vistan of AB Capital Securities told Dow Jones Newswires.

Following a 7.47 percent of local share prices over the past four sessions, "there is a grain of optimism now after the release of the US (housing) data," said Astro del Castillo of First Grade Holdings.

PLDT rose 0.80 percent to P1,885 after losing nearly 18 percent since announcing a substantial investment in Manila Electric Co., or Meralco.

Meralco jumped 7.64 percent to P84.50.

Ayala Corp. added 2.08 percent to P196 while SM Prime Holdings ended unchanged at P6.90 after an early uptick.