Philippine shares end down as bank stocks decline

  • Business
  • Friday, 21 Feb 2003

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Philippine shares finished lower Friday for the fourth straight session, as the market's mood remained bearish due to a number of domestic and overseas problems, traders said. 

The 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index ended down 7.53 points, or 0.7 percent, at 1015.70, adding to Thursday's 0.6 percent loss. 

The index has given up 1.8 percent since Tuesday. 

Bank stocks were among the session's top decliners. 

Metropolitan Bank fell 1 peso, or 3.6 percent, at 26.50 pesos, and Bank of the Philippine Islands was down 0.50 peso, or 1.5 percent, at 32.50 pesos. 

Traders said the country's failure to come up with an anti-money laundering law tough enough to meet global requirements is threatening to hamper banks' earnings prospects this year. 

The country faces sanctions from Paris-based Financial Action Task Force against money laundering, or FATF, if it fails to pass needed amendments by next month. 

"With bank lending still weak, banks have increased their reliance on nontraditional sources, such as fees on letter of credit openings, export banking, and remittances,'' said AB Capital Securities economist Jose Vistan. 

"But these sources of income may now be affected by possible FATF sanctions.'' 

Thursday's bombings in strife-torn provinces in the south, combined with repeated clashes between the military and Muslim rebels in the area have also fanned security concerns in the market, Vistan told Dow Jones Newswires - AP 


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