Philam Asset Management: Are we at the tail end?

If one were to consult sellers, the probability of the benchmark PCOMP Index reaching “bottom” is low. So, the question remains, why are Foreign-domiciled funds still selling? The simple answer is: sellers are taking profit.

Sellers are taking profit because they know that Philippine stocks cannot outperform other stock markets all the time. Thus, this opportunity to take profit now when Philippine stocks are doing well is irresistible. To recall, Philippine stocks “disconnected” from the rest of the world soon after the elections. The local stock market rallied for several weeks after elections while investor sentiment deteriorated globally. As they have in the past, traders will take profit even if they are convinced that the local stock market can outperform most other markets for most of the time.

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Traders will stop selling when there is little or no profit left to take, or when the local market is due for a “bounce”. If it is a question of whether the Philippines is “expensive” or “the most expensive” stock market, then no trader nor stock fund would be interested in Philippine stocks at all. “Expensive” is old news.

The expensiveness or intrinsic value of a stock market is driven by the cash flow, growth and risk character of its listed-companies – not by the trading pattern or signal generated by technical analysis in charts. The intrinsic value of the Philippine stock market is higher than most other markets because of the persistent reality of stronger cash flows, higher economic growth prospects and lower risk that characterize Philippine companies when compared to many companies in most other markets. The reality is persistent because of the character of the local economy, for example the country’s demographics is in a sweet spot with most of the population in working age.

“Price” is driven by the “weight” of the buy and sell flows of traders. Simply put, it is the balance of the demand and supply of shares that determine price. However, stock prices tend to “approach” their intrinsic value. The estimate of the intrinsic value of Philippine stocks by analysts now stands at 8,166, based on a survey from Bloomberg. Expectedly, as stock prices fall or become cheaper relative to their intrinsic value, demand for Philippine shares will increase.

Investors who have a long-term perspective of the markets and are aware that they cannot ‘catch the bottom’ will take on the view that the current administration’s economic agenda will speak louder than the president’s unpredictable words. Investors will look at the economic agenda to find the cheapest stocks.

Fortunately, the theme of ‘inclusive growth’ which aims to increase the purchasing power and improve the living standards of the majority of the Filipinos makes the most-attractive industries or sectors obvious, that is food and staples retailing, packaged foods and meats, restaurants, and multi-sector holding companies involved mostly in infrastructure.

In order to avoid the predicament of waiting in the wings and remaining un-invested, investors will have to start buying before the traders stop selling. It also keeps investors from getting left behind when the stock market does “bounce”.

About Philam Asset Management (PAMI)

Philam Asset Management, Inc. (PAMI) is an asset management company that administers, distributes and provides investment advisory to nine mutual funds. PAMI is a wholly owned company of Philam Life – the country’s premier life insurance company– which is a member company of the AIA Group, the largest pan-Asian life insurance group that has a unique heritage of serving the world’s most dynamic region for more than 90 years.

Established in 1992, PAMI is one of the largest asset and wealth managers in the mutual fund industry with more than PhP40 Billion Assets under management as of June 30, 2014. A major contributor to the development of the Philippine mutual fund industry, PAMI is a leader in asset management in the Philippines, managing nine funds from different asset classes for different client risk appetites namely: Philam Managed Income Fund, Philam Bond Fund, PAMI Global Bond Fund, and Philam Dollar Bond Fund, Philam Fund, PAMI Asia Balanced Fund, PAMI Horizon Fund, PAMI Equity Index Fund and Philam Strategic Growth Fund.

About Philam Life

The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life) is the country’s premier life insurance company. Established on June 21, 1947, Philam Life offers an extensive line of products in the industry that provides solutions to various financial needs including life protection, health insurance, savings, education, retirement, investment, group and credit life insurance.

Philam Life is a member of AIA Group Limited, the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group.

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About AIA

AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries (collectively “AIA” or “the Group”) comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan- Asian life insurance group. It has operations in 17 markets in Asia-Pacific – wholly-owned branches and subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei, a 97 per cent subsidiary in Sri Lanka, a 26 per cent joint venture in India and a representative office in Myanmar.

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