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PSEi flat ahead of Yellen speech, long weekend.

THE LOCAL stock barometer ended flat on Friday as investors braced for the upcoming speech of US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen as well as a long local weekend break.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 9.05 points or 0.12 percent to close at 7,845.49, in line with another day of cautious trades across the region.

For the week, the PSEi shed a total of 85.26 points or 0.1 percent.

There will be no trading on Monday (August 29) in observance of National Heroes Day.

Citigroup said in a research note on Friday that investors across the region were focused on Yellen's speech later in the day (evening in Asia) at the Jackson Hole symposium, an annual gathering of policymakers.

'The backdrop of generally hawkish Fed speak that has pushed Fed hike expectations for this year to about 65 percent from about 40 percent earlier this month. Investors will closely watch for cues on Fed chair's thinking to fine tune the trajectory of Fed rate hike,' Citi said.

'Price action in markets over the last several sessions suggests that investors have scaled back exposure ahead of Fed chair's speech. But bias still seems bullish reflecting expectations for Fed chair's speech to lean dovish relative to other recent Fed speak,' it said.

At the local market on Friday, the PSEi was weighed down by property and holding firm counters, in turn mitigated by the gains eked out by the services and mining/oil counters which both rose by over 1 percent. The financial and industrial counters rose slightly.

Value turnover for the day amounted to P9.48 billion. Despite the PSEi's decline, market breadth was positive as there were 114 advancers that edged out 72 decliners as investors looked beyond large cap-stocks for buying opportunities.

Globe Telecom fell by 2.26 percent while SM Prime and ALI both declined by over 1 percent. AEV, AP, MPI and AC all slipped.

On the other hand, ICTSI gained 4.32 percent while LTG and Megaworld both rose by over 1 percent. URC, Metrobank, DMCI, SMIC and BPI also firmed up slightly.

Outside of the PSEi, Cirtek (+0.6 percent) and Vitarich (+11.15 percent) gained in relatively heavy volume.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 26, 2016
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