Investors Optimistic About PH Equities in Next 6 Mos Featured

(Left to right) Mr Steve Roder, Chief Financial Officer of Manulife Financial; Ms Tan Su Shan, Group Head of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management, DBS Bank; and Richard Vargo, Regional Head of Bancassurance, DBS Bank. (Photo: Tang See Kit) (Left to right) Mr Steve Roder, Chief Financial Officer of Manulife Financial; Ms Tan Su Shan, Group Head of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management, DBS Bank; and Richard Vargo, Regional Head of Bancassurance, DBS Bank. (Photo: Tang See Kit) Channel NewsAsia

MANILA -- Investors in the Philippines are quite optimistic about investing in local equities in the next six months, given the improving market conditions, the latest Manulife Investors Sentiment Index(MISI) showed.

"The Manulife Investor Sentiment Index survey revealed that 92 percent of investors in the Philippines indicate that the next six months 'will be a neutral to good time' to invest in equities," Manulife said in a statement on Wednesday, March 22.

The top reasons for the optimism are improving market conditions, better employment situation and stable market place.

"The Philippines delivered encouraging growth momentum in 2016. Looking ahead, we expect a continued execution of larger infrastructure spending and co-investing projects with private capital," said Aira Gaspar, chief investment officer at Manulife Philippines.

"This will generate positive multiplier effects on employment, manufacturing, retail trade and productivity. These factors, coupled with supportive structural reforms, would drive stronger corporate earnings and create new catalysts for Philippine equities," Gaspar noted.

The Philippine economy grew by 6.8 percent in 2016, the fastest since 2013, mainly driven by manufacturing, trade and real estate business activities.

"It is expected that the Philippine economy will continue its strong performance delivered in 2016 and keep its upbeat economic momentum this year," Manulife said.

Manulife also noted good prospects for emerging markets in the region, given the improvement in global economic momentum.

"Despite considerable global political uncertainties, modest improvement in global economic momentum is expected to continue this year," it said.

A separate survey by Thomson Reuters noted that business sentiment at Asia's top companies rose to its highest level in almost two years in the first three months of the year, on the back of positive economic signs from the United States and China.

Earlier this year, First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) said it expects the local stock barometer to reach the 2017 full-year target of 7,500. — GMANews

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