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Wednesday, December 31, 2003
STOCK ALERT-Singapore-listed Medtecs up sharply on confirmed China SARS report
Taiwan's ASE Inc to close Philippine unit, no major impact seen on parent

Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Forex - Philippine peso ends slightly firmer with central bank help
Estrada will return to Philippines to face graft charges: lawyers
Philippine SEC approves NextStage's reduction in capital stock
Philippines' SPI Technologies buys back 42,000 shares at 13 pesos each
Estranged Arroyo allies file candidacies for Philippine presidency - report
Philippine BIR optimistic of meeting December/FY revenue targets
Philippines sells 100 mln usd worth of Napocor bonds - govt official
Philippine Petron's gas oil hydrotreater facility back in operation
Manila shares close slightly lower on profit-taking
Philippines Oct manufacturing output by volume down 4.0 pct yr-on-yr
STOCK ALERT - Philippine PLDT firmer early on window-dressing, ADR gains
STOCK ALERT - Singapore Exchange firmer on interest in Philippine bourse stake
Philippines' PLDT says still in talks with AT&T to settle rates dispute

December 26 - 29

December 22 - 24 
December 18 - 19 
December 15 - 17 
December 10 -12 
December 8 - 9 
December 3 - 5 
December 1 - 2 


 

 

STOCK ALERT-Singapore-listed Medtecs up sharply on confirmed China SARS report


     SINGAPORE (AFX-ASIA) - Philippine-based laboratory gowns and surgical masks supplier Medtecs International was sharply higher in early morning trade on expectations that demand for its products will rise on reports of a confirmed SARS case in China, dealers said.
     Medtecs was up 8.16 pct, or 0.02 sgd, at 0.265 on volume of 5.10 mln shares.
     A senior Chinese health official was reported as saying yesterday that all tests of a suspected SARS case in a 32-year-old man in Guangzhou had turned out positive, although the World Health Organization (WHO) said later that more tests need to be carried out before the case could be confirmed definitively.
     The market had also shrugged off Medtec's warning last Friday that its net profit in the second half of 2003 will be weaker than the first half on delays in deliveries to Taiwan, dealers added.
     (1 usd = 1.70 sgd)
     daryl.loo@afxasia.com

 

Taiwan's ASE Inc to close Philippine unit, no major impact seen on parent


     TAIPEI (AFX-ASIA) - Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (2311.TW) said its board of directors has decided to shut down the company's wholly-owned unit ASE Holding Electronics (Philippines) Inc whose performance has failed to meet expectations.
     No major impact on the parent is expected as the unit's existing clientele will be transferred to other units of the company, it said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
     At 9.17 am, ASE Inc was up 0.30 twd at 35.10.
     (1 usd = 34.00 twd)
     philip.wang@afxasia.com

 

Forex - Philippine peso ends slightly firmer with central bank help


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The peso reversed from earlier weakness to end at its highest level during the day, thanks to the central bank's steady intervention, dealers said.
     The peso closed at its intra-day high of 55.500 after hitting a low of 55. 600 on volume of 149.50 mln usd. It closed at 55.590 yesterday.
     Dealers said the local currency opened on a weak note as banks accumulated dollars to cover their short positions ahead of the long weekend.
     The central bank, however, strongly supported the local currency as it reportedly sold as much as 80 mln usd in the spot market, dealers said.
      Banking regulators were not immediately available for comment.
     The central bank had been hoping the peso would end the year around the 54.000 level, despite lingering political and security concerns which had sent the currency to an all-time low of 55.850 in late November.
     "Some banks, mostly foreign, were either closing or trimming their short dollar position. But the central bank was there to provide liquidity in the market," a local bank dealer said.
     The peso is expected to weaken in the weeks ahead after it failed to appreciate substantially despite robust dollar remittances from overseas Filipino workers in time for the Christmas holidays, dealers said.
     "The market may be in for a slow start next week, although political uncertainties would likely dampen sentiment on the currency," a dealer said.
     The peso is seen to consolidate at the 55.500-55.600 level next week, after a long New Year's break which starts tomorrow.
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Estrada will return to Philippines to face graft charges: lawyers


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Lawyers for deposed Philippine president Joseph Estrada assured the government he will return home to face graft charges after surgery in the United States, amid concern he may abscond.
     Estrada last week secured court permission to travel to California for knee surgery on condition that he return to the Philippines by March 31. Prosecutors have appealed the ruling, saying he may not return.
     But one of his lawyers, Noel Malaya, insisted that the former leader will fly home after his scheduled surgery in early February.
     "The March 31 deadline would be enough. We probably would not ask for any extension," Malaya told reporters, adding that Estrada has promised the court he will return.
     The ex-president, ousted in a popular revolt in 2001, is accused of plundering government coffers of some 80 mln usd during his term, a charge he has denied. He could be sentenced to death if convicted.
     State prosecutors have asked the Supreme Court for an injunction against Estrada's planned trip.
     The court's permission was the first issued for a detainee charged with a capital offense and anyone facing the death penalty will surely run away if allowed out of the country, state prosecutor Dennis Villa Ignacio said.
     "Where can you find a man who will not do that? The court is allowing him to escape," he said.
     President Gloria Arroyo supports the decision to allow him to travel to the United States, but critics have said her stance is part of a political deal to soften up the opposition ahead of the May 2004 elections.
     Her spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, has insisted however that there are "no strings attached to, or politics involved in, President Arroyo's position," and she is motivated by "sincere humanitarian considerations".
     Arroyo is seeking a second term, but faces a tough challenge from the opposition, which has fielded Estrada's best friend, movie icon Fernando Poe, as its presidential candidate.

 

Philippine SEC approves NextStage's reduction in capital stock


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved cement producer NextStage Inc's decrease in capital stock to 100 mln pesos from the current 500 mln, the company told the stock exchange.
     The capital reduction will be achieved by cutting the par value of NextStage's shares to 0.20 pesos apiece from the current 1.00.
     The company is implementing a quasi-reorganization aimed at wiping out its deficit, which amounted to 184.15 mln pesos as of end-2002.
     In line with the quasi-reorganization, the company's publicly listed shares will be reduced to 53.65 mln shares from 268.25 mln, the stock exchange said.
     NextStage's trading suspension will be lifted on Jan 5.
     (1 usd = 55.59 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' SPI Technologies buys back 42,000 shares at 13 pesos each


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Information technology services provider SPI Technologies Inc said it bought back 42,000 shares in the market at an average price of 13 pesos each.
     SPI closed flat at 13 pesos.
     The company has been undertaking a 55-mln peso share buy-back program since Dec 19 after announcing that it failed to reach an agreement with PPM Ventures Ltd, owned by Britain's Prudential Plc, on a supposed tender offer by PPM to acquire control of the Philippine firm.
     (1 usd = 55.59 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Estranged Arroyo allies file candidacies for Philippine presidency - report


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - A former cabinet minister and a prominent Christian television evangelist, both former allies of President Gloria Arroyo, today filed their candidacies for president in the May 2004 elections, Agence France Presse reported.
     Former education secretary Raul Roco, flanked by other politicians running under his independent Alliance for Hope party, said he is "the first and best alternative" for the presidency.
     Wearing his trademark floral shirts, Roco announced that former congressman Hermie Aquino will be running as his vice-president.
     Roco was fired as Arroyo's education secretary following allegations of graft last year. He was never charged and Roco, a corporate lawyer and former senator, remains popular with university students and the Philippines' educated sector.
     Eddie Villanueva, head of the Jesus is Lord Christian movement which previously supported Arroyo, also filed his candidacy, vowing to stamp out corruption, although most analysts give him only a remote chance of winning.
     Roco, however, ranked second in a recent survey of declared presidential candidates, just ahead of Arroyo and slightly behind front-runner Fernando Poe.
     Poe, a popular movie star who is the opposition candidate, is a close friend of deposed president Joseph Estrada, whom Arroyo replaced after he was ousted in a popular revolt in 2001.

 

Philippine BIR optimistic of meeting December/FY revenue targets


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) expects to exceed its collection target of 34.551 bln pesos for December, allowing it to meet its 424.007-bln peso revenue goal for 2003, BIR commissioner Guillermo Parayno said.
     "It looks like we're going to exceed the target in December and, therefore, we are going to meet the target for the full year," Parayno said.
     The BIR collected revenue totaling of 42.25 bln pesos in November to exceed its target of 41.309 bln for the month.
     However, in the January to November period, collections were still 0.22 pct below its target of 388.58 bln pesos.
     (1 usd = 55.59 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines sells 100 mln usd worth of Napocor bonds - govt official


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) -The Philippine government sold 100 mln usd worth of National Power Corp (Napocor) bonds last week to help raise funds for its financing requirement, Finance Secretary Juanita Amatong said.
     A government official, who requested anonymity, said the sale was done through a private placement.
     The national government has 500 mln usd worth of Napocor bonds in its coffers, which it purchased from the power firm several years back.
     The plan is to sell between 100-200 mln usd of debt papers early next year to cover a portion of the government's 2004 funding needs.
     "We are just transforming our securities into cash," Amatong said.
     The government has been pre-funding its 2004 requirements by borrowing ahead of an expected rise in interest rates during the election season which starts early next year.
     (1 usd = 55.59 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippine Petron's gas oil hydrotreater facility back in operation


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Petron Corp said its gas oil hydrotreater facility at its refinery in Bataan province is now back in operation after undergoing repairs and tests.
     The unit was shut down on Dec 27 due to a leak.
     In a disclosure, Petron said the facility enhances Petron's production of Clean Air Act-compliant diesel fuel.
     No further details were provided.
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Manila shares close slightly lower on profit-taking


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Share prices led by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co ended in negative territory, although off lows, after investors locked in profits from the market's recent gains.
     The 30-company composite index closed down 8.33 points or 0.57 pct at 1, 442.37 on 885 mln shares worth 660.64 mln pesos. It traded between 1,434.70 and 1,452.90.
     Losers beat gainers 44 to 32, with 36 stocks unchanged.
     Top-traded PLDT shed 10.00 pesos at 970 on volume of 270,470 shares.
     Dealers said profit-taking may have been undertaken by investors who intend to lock in early their investment gains for the year.
     The market, which will be closed from tomorrow for a long New Year's break, is expected to consolidate at the 1,430 and 1,450 level when it resumes next week.
     "The market is already at an overbought position given the recent run-up. Some investors would probably not want to be caught with their long position during the break," First Grade Holdings managing director Astro del Castillo said.
     Citiseconline.com analyst Mark Alan Canizares said the market experienced "minor" profit-taking given today's turnover, which was merely boosted by cross sales.
     "There are those who want to start the year on a clean slate. The index's decline, in this case, may not really be an indicator of the market's breadth, " Canizares said.
     Ayala Land closed flat at 6.10 pesos on 13.49 mln shares, while parent Ayala Corp closed down 0.10 at 5.20 on 1.89 mln shares.
     Globe Telecom shed 5.00 to 860 on 67,400 shares.
     Metrobank was up 1.00 at 27.50 on 1.39 mln shares on last-minute profit-taking.
     Bank of the Philippine Islands declined 0.50 to 46.50 on 673,200 shares.
     Meralco A and B ended flat at 15.00 and 24.25, respectively.
     SM Prime shed 0.20 to 6.50 on 1.47 mln shares.
     The all-shares index was up 5.28 points at 874.78.
     The commercial-industrial index was down 7.48 at 2,185.23.
     Property shed 8.79 to 571.35, while mining was up 4.19 at 1,623.18.
     Oil was down 0.02 at 1.21.
     Banking and financial services shed 0.12 to 439.07.
     (1 usd = 55.593 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines Oct manufacturing output by volume down 4.0 pct yr-on-yr


     (Updating with breakdown of data)
     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Philippine manufacturing output in October dropped 4. 0 pct year-on-year in volume terms from a revised decline of 3.2 pct in September, the National Statistics Office said.
     Manufacturing sales in October, however, expanded slightly by 1.1 pct year-on-year in volume terms from a 0.4 pct revised drop in September.
     The NSO earlier reported that October output dropped 3.7 pct year-on-year and sales slid 1.5 pct, both in volume terms.
     In value terms, manufacturing output in October rose 3.6 pct while sales increased 9.8 pct.
     In September, in value terms, output rose a revised 3.6 pct year-on-year and sales were up a revised 8.0 pct.
     The average capacity utilization rate of the manufacturing sector slightly improved to 78.9 pct from a revised 77.7 pct in September.
     The NSO said October manufacturing output by volume dipped mainly due to lower production of leather products, tobacco, footwear and wearing apparel, non-metallic mineral products, paper and paper products, chemical and fabricated metal products.
     Month-on-month, manufacturing output in volume terms in October rose 1.0 pct from a revised 1.5 pct decline in September. The output increase was due to significant expansion reported in the making of rubber products, electrical machinery, non-metallic mineral products, food manufacturing, tobacco and paper and paper products.
     In value terms, manufacturing output picked up 3.6 pct in October from a year earlier, with increased production of basic metals, textiles and miscellaneous manufactures.
     October sales in value terms grew 9.8 pct year-on-year on the back of double-digit increase in the sales of basic metals, non-metallic mineral products, publishing and printing, electrical machinery, petroleum products, furniture and fixtures, non-electrical machinery and miscellaneous manufactures.
     Month-on-month. October sales in value terms grew slightly by 0.8 pct from the previous month's revised decrease of 1.0 pct due to increases posted in basic metals, non-metallic mineral products, rubber products, leather products, furniture and fixtures and tobacco.
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

STOCK ALERT - Philippine PLDT firmer early on window-dressing, ADR gains


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co was firmer in early trade, extending its recent rise, as investors accumulated more of the stock to window-dress their year-end portfolios, dealers said.
     Further gains notched up by its New York-traded American Depositary Receipts overnight also boosted buying even as the stock nears its resistance level which some analysts have set at 1,000 pesos.
     At 9.58 am, PLDT was up 10.00 pesos at 990 on volume of 55,830 shares.
     Its ADRs rose 0.55 usd to 17.65 last night.
     Investors shrugged off news that negotiations between PLDT and US carrier AT&T on their months-long rates dispute have been moving slowly.
     The US Federal Communications Commission had earlier ordered US carriers to suspend payments to their Philippine counterparts for processed inbound calls from America. The decision was based on US carrier claims that PLDT and other local telecom companies are blocking calls to force them to pay higher termination fees.
     (1 usd = 55.596 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

STOCK ALERT - Singapore Exchange firmer on interest in Philippine bourse stake


     SINGAPORE (AFX-ASIA) - Singapore Exchange was firmer after the Philippine Stock Exchange confirmed recent reports that the Singapore bourse is interested in acquiring a 30 pct stake in its Manila-based counterpart, dealers said.
     Singapore Exchange was up 0.01 sgd, or 0.60 pct, at 1.68 on volume of 631, 000 shares.
     (1 usd = 1.70 sgd)
     singapore@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' PLDT says still in talks with AT&T to settle rates dispute


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) is still holding talks with US carrier AT & T Corp to settle their months-long dispute over the rates PLDT has to charge for calls from the US to the Philippines, said the local company's president, Manuel Pangilinan.
     Negotiations between the two carriers are ongoing and an agreement has yet to be sealed, Pangilinan added.
     Earlier, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc signed a deal with AT&T effectively allowing direct connection with the US carrier.
     "They (PLDT and Smart) pursue independent causes. In this particular issue, it is quite important that we demonstrate to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that we (PLDT and Smart) are not acting in collusion. And indeed we are not," Pangilinan said.
     AT&T reportedly owes PLDT between 6-7 mln usd in unpaid termination charges.
     The FCC earlier ordered US carriers to suspend payments to their Philippine counterparts for processed inbound calls from America.
     The decision is based on the US carriers' claims that PLDT and other local telecom companies are blocking calls to force them to pay higher termination fees.
     PLDT and MCI International have already settled their rates dispute, with the former already reopening its circuits to allow inbound calls from the US. cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 


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