Philippine shares end lower Tuesday on continued technical correction

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Philippine shares ended lower Tuesday for the third straight session due to security concerns following bombings last week and government delays in raising the value-added tax, traders said. 

The 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 30.39 points, or 1.5 percent, to end at 1,992.27, following a loss of 3 percent Monday. 

Decliners led gainers 97 to 27, while 35 stocks were unchanged. 

The loss brings the total index decline to 5 percent since last Friday following its best finish in over five years. 

Dragging down the index were losses by blue chips Ayala Corp., down 5.2 percent at 7.30 pesos; its unit Ayala Land, off 5.4 percent at 8.70 pesos; and affiliate Bank of the Philippine Islands, lower by 3.6 percent at 54 pesos. 

Some stocks managed to rebound from the sell-off. Benpres rose 3.2 percent to 1.30 pesos. 

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. rose 0.4 percent to 1,360 pesos on bargain hunting. 

DA Market Securities President Nestor Aguila said he believed the sell-off was exaggerated, with investors latching on to negative news as an excuse to unload holdings. 

"The (positive) market trend is still intact. We are in an oversold position today. There's a lot of exaggeration in terms of emotions,'' said Aguila. 

Concern over, among others, the slow progress in the Senate of a bill raising the value-added tax has prompted investors to exit the market. 

The measure forms part of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's fiscal reform package. 

Security threats spawned by a trio of terror bombings last week have also prompted investors to exercise caution, traders said. 

"The market is using the VAT issue and allother negative stories to take profit,'' said Aguila. - AP

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