Philippine stocks rise 0.9% Friday

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Philippine stocks scored a broad-based gain Friday as a lull in the political strife surrounding President Gloria Arroyo gave investors an opportunity to hunt for bargains, dealers said. 

"We can see that emotions have tapered down,'' said Astro del Castillo, managing director at local broker First Grade Holdings. 

The benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 17.62 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,897.08, after rising 1.4 percent Thursday.  

Since the allegations that Arroyo engaged in vote rigging surfaced six weeks ago, the market had fallen as much as 10 percent. 

All sectoral indicators finished higher. 

Gainers led decliners 67 to 9, while 38 stocks were unchanged. 

Blue chip companies with good earnings potential led the advance. Ayala Corp. advanced 2.5 percent to 302.50 pesos.  

Ayala Land jumped 4.1 percent to 7.60 pesos, Bank of the Philippine Islands advanced 1 percent to 49.50 pesos, and SM Prime gained 1.4 percent to 7.10 pesos. 

Arroyo, undeterred by pressure to quit, Thursday appointed a new economic team to fill Cabinet seats emptied by a mass resignation and vowed to fight her opponents every step of the way. 

Arroyo's supporters are planning a rally in Manila Saturday and organizers say they aim to draw 200,000 people, five times the 40,000 who joined Wednesday's anti-Arroyo demonstration in the capital's financial district. - AP

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