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Philippine Stocks: Energy Development, First Gen, Metropolitan

Shares of the following companies had unusual moves in Philippine trading. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are as of the noon close in Manila.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 1.9 percent to 4,209.43, the highest level since Jan. 6.

Banks: Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (MBT PM), the nation’s second-biggest bank by assets, climbed 4.9 percent to 68.45 pesos, the sharpest gain since Dec. 29, on speculation lending margins at banks will benefit from a possible increase in interest rates. Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI PM), the No. 3 bank, rose 2.3 percent to 60.35 pesos, a five-month high.

The central bank “cannot rule out further adjustment” in interest rates “given inflationary pressures” in the Philippines and abroad, Governor Amando Tetangco told a conference on April 2.

“Further rate increases are taken by the market positively because this will preempt a higher inflation rate,” said Peter Lee, senior investment officer at Manila-based IGC Securities Inc. “As long as the increases in interest rates are gradual, banks can benefit both from trading and lending activities.”

Energy Development Corp. (EDC PM), the nation’s biggest producer of power using geothermal energy, surged 3 percent to 6.48 pesos, the highest close since Sept. 28. First Gen Corp. (FGEN PM) said it exercised an option to buy 390 million shares in the unit. First Gen advanced 1.9 percent to 13.04 pesos, the highest level since Nov. 9.

Manila Electric Co. (MER PM), the nation’s biggest power retailer, decreased 0.8 percent to 263 pesos, snapping a three-day, 7.5 percent rally. Sales per kilowatt-hour may not have grown in the first quarter, Chief Operating Officer Oscar Reyes told reporters.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (TEL PM), the nation’s largest phone company, climbed 1.9 percent to 2,400 pesos, the highest close since Feb. 9. ePLDT Inc., a unit of the company, completed the sale of a 75 percent stake in an Internet cafe operator to IP E-Game Ventures Inc., a stock exchange filing showed.

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