'Now is the best time to invest in stocks'

by Kathleen A. Martin, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 30 2013 02:21 PM | Updated as of May 02 2013 05:03 PM


MANILA (UPDATE) -- Despite the numerous peaks the Philippine Stock Exchange index has hit this year, COL Financial said now is the best time to invest in the local bourse with the low interest rates and the robust macroeconomic conditions.

"This is the best time to invest... The market has really been performing well in the past three years... and the country is entering a golden period," Conrado F. Bate, president and chief executive officer at COL Financial, said in a briefing.

Bate explained that even if the PSE index has already reached 27 peaks so far this year, there is still room for growth given the country's low interest rate environment.

Moreover, Bate said: "The sentiment in business and government is at an all-time high."

COL Financial sees the stock market hitting 7,200 to 7,400 this year from its 5,812.73-finish in end-2012. This projection is actually only hundreds away as the PSE index hit 7,120.48 last April 22.

Bate added the market could even soar to as high as 10,000 in two to three years time.

Invest with discipline

Given this, Bate encouraged Filipinos to take advantage of the current robust economy and invest part of their savings in the stock market.

"The stock market is for everybody. It's really the first-time investors that we really try to attract because today, you no longer rely on fixed-income investments only. You have to learn to invest your money in the stock market," Bate said.

Bate allayed fears that investors may lose their money because of the high risk involved in dabbling with the stock market.

"You just have to have discipline because investing is about having the right discipline," Bate said.

"No matter how attractive other opportunities are in the stock market, we tell people to stick to the good companies because investing is not about hitting the jackpot overnight, it's about putting your money to work for a long period of time," he continued.

Bate said that these "good companies" or blue-chip firms are the ones that can withstand an economic slowdown given their strong financials.

"The blue-chip companies are pricey but one should always take advantage of a growing company because even in bad times, they have the advantage over their competitors," he said.

A big risk to the country's growth that may affect the PSE as well is the fast-appreciating peso, Bate said.

The strengthening currency cuts revenues of the exports sector and the business process outsourcing industry, and reduces the spending power of families dependent on remittances sent home by Filipinos living and working overseas, he added.