PSE BGC bells
THERE were no initial public offerings during the first half. — SANTIAGO ARNAIZ

THE Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) finished the first half of 2019 with gains of 7.1%, propped up by net inflows from foreign investors as well as improvements in the economy during the period.

Considered a measure of local and foreign investments in the country, the PSEi ended at 7,999.71 on June 28, compared to its close of 7,489.20 on Jan. 2. The broader all-shares index also went up 8.3% to 4,893.78.

This makes the PSEi the third best performing stock barometer in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to bourse operator Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE).

Four sectoral indices were higher by the end of June, led by the services sector which jumped 18.6%. In contrast, the mining and oil and financials counters dropped 7.4% and 3.4%, respectively.

“The stock market benefitted from a mix of positive internal and external factors. On the domestic front, we saw inflation stabilize which prompted an interest rate cut and a reduction in reserve requirement by the Bangko Sentral (ng Pilipinas),” PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon said in a statement.

“The PSE is among the emerging markets that benefitted from foreign fund inflows which are looking for attractive returns as US interest rates remain steady.”

Foreign investors recorded net purchases of P21 billion from January to June, reversing the net outflows amounting to P65.84 billion seen in the first half of 2018. Average daily value turnover likewise improved by 9.7% to P7.84 billion.

With this, the local market’s capitalization stood at P14.69 billion, 8.4% up from the start of the year.

Amid the absence of initial public offerings for the first half, the PSEi tallied P37.89 billion worth of capital raised during the period.

“After the back-to-back listings in the last week of June, we are looking to more fund-raising activities in the coming months,” Mr. Monzon said.

Companies that raised funds through the stock exchange include Petron Corp., which offered P20 billion worth of preferred shares on June 25. Niche property developer Arthaland Corp. also raised P1 billion in preferred shares on June 27.

In January, four firms also tapped the equity market for additional funds. Ayala Corp. raised P8.069 billion through private placement in Jan. 23. Boulevard Holdings, Inc. and DFNN, Inc. also had private placements worth P170.42 million and P650.93 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, Philippine Savings Bank issued P7.999 billion worth of shares in a stock rights offering on Jan. 18. — Arra B. Francia