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MANILA, Philippines - Foreign fund managers snapped up P71.12 billion worth of Philippine equities in the first half of the year, almost a five-fold increase from the P14.75 billion reported the previous year, reflecting their growing optimism on the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals.

Based on data from the Philippine Stock Exchange, foreign investors went into a buying binge in the first semester, sending the main index to record levels.

Foreign investors have sought to selectively move into higher-yielding assets as they seek to balance the requirements of capital preservation in the face of global macroeconomic uncertainties, with growth opportunities still present in emerging markets amid the low interest rate environment.

The benchmark index (PSEi) barreled to record highs 19 times, posting a 20-percent growth as of end-June this year. It settled at 5,246.41 as of the end of the first half, up 955.20 points from 4,291.21 the previous year.

Last July 5, the PSEi surged to a new all-time high of 5,369.98.

The PSE is currently the top performing market in Asia with a gain of 22.7 percent year-to-date, outpacing bourses in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, India and China, among others.

“Just like our main index, investor confidence in Philippines Inc. is at an all-time high. What’s remarkable is that we have been able to achieve unprecedented growth even in the midst of ongoing uncertainties in the Western hemisphere and a cooling Chinese economy. This is a testament to the effectiveness of the reforms that the country has undertaken, which further contributed to the stable macroeconomic environment,” PSE president and chief executive officer Hans B. Sicat said.

“The market’s run in the first half has been nothing short of historic, and there’s a good chance that we will be able to extend this forward momentum as we anticipate better first half earnings from our listed firms. The latest sovereign credit rating upgrade also provides additional support for future growth so overall, I think we are in a terrific position to keep on improving,” he added.

The combined market capitalization of corporations listed on the PSE rose 12.8 percent to P10.05 trillion while total value turnover grew 43.2 percent to P947.73 billion. Average daily value turnover reached P 7.64 billion, 45.5 percent higher year-on-year.

In terms of sectoral indices, all indices ended in the green with the financials index leading the pack, surging 34.6 percent. This was followed by the property counter which climbed 30.1 percent. The holding firms index went up 28.1 percent while the industrial index climbed 10.8 percent.

The services index posted an eight-percent increase while the mining and oil index inched up 4.8 percent.

 
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