MANILA, Philippines – The investor sentiment in the Philippines slipped in the first quarter of 2014, but remains the highest in the Asian region, alongside Malaysia, according to results from a survey published by Manulife, a Canadian insurance company and financial services provider.
According to Manulife’s Investor Sentiment Index in Asia, while optimism is down slightly from the previous quarter (-8 to 58), more investors still regard it as a good place to invest in and sentiment remains overwhelmingly positive.
“Our second survey of investor sentiment in the Philippines continues to reveal great optimism,” Manulife Philippines President and CEO Ryan Charland said in a statement.
According to the survey, the sentiment in the Philippines is highest along with Malaysia at 58, which is more than double the regional average of 24.
The upbeat sentiment is buoyed by strong stock market performance and economic growth expectations, Charland added.
Stocks were up 9% in the first quarter, thanks to company earnings being in line with or better than estimates. “Yet, sentiment may have built in a higher inflation outlook and the rise in banks’ reserve requirements, which was interpreted as a prelude to further tightening measures to curb strong liquidity growth,” Manulife Philippines Chief Investment Officer Aira Gaspar said.
At the asset class level, sentiment dropped across the board except toward cash, although investors remain optimistic about all asset classes. Equities lost 7 points to reach 41; fixed income was down 15 to 45; mutual funds declined 16 to 35; and investment property slipped 9 to 70.
Gaspar said Manulife expects sentiment toward equity to pick up, as resilient domestic consumption and rising investment spending are supportive of an upward corporate earnings trajectory.
Manulife’s Investor Sentiment Index in Asia measures and tracks investors’ views on their attitudes toward key asset classes and related issues.
The survey is based on 500 online interviews in each market of Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore, while in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, it is conducted face-to-face.
Respondents are middle-class to affluent investors, aged 25 and above, who are the primary decision makers on financial matters in the household and currently have investment products. – Rappler.com
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