Market seen taking a breather

- Zinnia B. Dela Peña () - September 15, 2003 - 12:00am
After two days of strong gains, the market is expected to take a breather, spooked by renewed terror concerns and worries on the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the region.

"With the reported breakout of new SARS cases, we may see a pause in the market’s rally," online securities portal Philstocks.net said.

The main composite index closed lower by 6.8 points or 0.52 percent at 1,292.52. Turnover remained healthy on trades of 373.87 million shares valued at P683.57 million.

Philstocks.net said investors may opt to stay on the sidelines and wait for clearer signs before taking larger positions in the market. Another factor that may affect investor appetite is the new tape of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden which emerged on the eve of the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the US.

The Philippines is a supporter of the US’ anti-terrorism efforts and is considered a target for potential terrorist activities.

While the market has been depressed by the domestic political rumblings, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has been able to carry the index and help it stay afloat. Shares of the telecom giant have been slowly rising on reports that the subscriber take up in the second half has been strong so far.

RCBC Securities, in its weekly market outlook, said the market is expected to resume its uptrend as investors have slowly discounted political mudslinging of parties against each other. "Investors, used to such political intramurals as elections approaches, have come to concentrate more on the prospects of the economy. Though the presidential election poses threats to continuity of reforms, the successor of the current administration is unlikely to reverse whatever positive strides the current administration has initiated," RCBC Securities said.

RCBC Securities said the perennial concerns on fiscal discipline is slowly being dispelled by government’s performance on its revenues and expense tightening. Budget deficit for January to July this year has reached P95 billion still below the P119-billion programmed deficit for the period. This gives the government some room into settling some of its payables scheduled for July and August which would overshot programmed spending by some P3 billion. Government is also expected to implement several other new measures which would boost revenues collections further.

"Still, we expect politicking would continue until a strong administration contender emerges which would start off discussions on agenda and platform. Nonetheless, investors will continue view the market with improved optimism as government sets priority on lingering economic issues," RCBC Securities said.

In the meantime, RCBC has advised investors to buy on weakness. Among its stock picks are PLDT, Globe Telecom, Ayala Corp., Ayala Land Inc., and Bank of the Philippine Islands.

Online securities portal 2tradeasia.com, for its part, said investors should consider issues that generate commendable cash flows from operations as well as those that have established leadership in their field.

AL-QAEDA AYALA CORP AYALA LAND INC BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS GLOBE TELECOM JULY AND AUGUST MARKET OSAMA BIN LADEN PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CO PHILSTOCKS SEVERE ACUTE RESPIRATORY SYNDROME
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