Philippine Stocks Climb Most in 3 Weeks on Growth: Manila Mover

Philippine stocks advanced, driving the benchmark index to its biggest gain in more than three weeks, after Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the government will ensure economic growth stays high.

Jollibee Foods Corp., the nation’s biggest fast-food company, climbed 9.4 percent to a record while Globe Telecom Inc., the second-largest mobile phone operator, rose 6.1 percent, the sharpest gain in more than three months. First Gen Corp. advanced 3.7 percent, rebounding from its lowest close in seven months.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index jumped 1.6 percent to 7,228.57 at the close, the most since May 3. The government will set the “necessary foundation” to sustain economic growth at higher levels, Purisima said. Gross domestic product data for the first quarter is scheduled to be released tomorrow.

“The finance secretary’s statement has helped bring back confidence into the market,” said Astro del Castillo, managing director of First Grade Holdings Inc. “It’s adding spice to the outlook that economic growth will accelerate this year.”

The Philippine index has fallen as much as 4 percent since closing at a record 7,392.20 on May 15 on concerns economic growth probably slowed in the first quarter. The gauge ’s valuations reached 20.8 times 12-month estimated earnings on May 15, the highest since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 2006.

Robinsons Land Corp. sank 1.8 percent to the lowest since March 21 after Universal Entertainment Corp. said talks with the company to jointly build a casino in Manila were put on hold.

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