Local stocks were off to a sizzling start following a long break as investors took cues from positive economic developments abroad.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index inched (PSEi) closer to its 7,000-resistance level yesterday, climbing by 1.10 percent or 76.28 points to finish at 6,979.81.

The broader All Share index likewise advanced by 0.80 percent or 28.89 points to settle at 3,636.40.

China Bank Capital Corp. managing director Juan Paolo Colet attributed the PSEi's ascent to start the second quarter strong on the positive economic news from the US and China.

'In the US, the February print of the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, the preferred inflation gauge of the Federal Reserve, was in line with consensus estimates and slower than the January data. This reinforced bets that the Federal Reserve is on track to cut interest rates as soon as June this year,' he said.

Colet said there was also good news from China where data showed that manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in six months.

Claire Alviar of Philstocks Financial said the expansion of China's factory activity, its fastest rate in 13 months, lifted sentiment locally as this gives hope for China's economic recovery, which in turn would be favorable to the Philippine economy as it affects trade and tourism in the country.

'Philippine shares started the second quarter on a high note, with fund managers making bets ahead of a new batch of economic data to be released,' Regina Capital's Luis Limlingan said separately.

'In the Philippines, the PMI came in followed by the budget balance as the figure were within estimates,' he added.

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