Good time now to invest in stock market again?

James Ryan Jonas

The Business Mirror reported yesterday that the Philippine Stock Exchange was the best performing stock market in Southeast Asia during the 1st quarter of 2009.

From January to March 2009, the 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) surged 6.05% — a remarkable performance considering the current worldwide economic recession and the losses in other Asian markets.

Compare the Philippine stock market’s performance below with the other Southeast Asian counterparts.

Performance of Southeast Asian stock markets, January-March 2009

  • Philippines: Philippine Stock Exchange Index … +6.05%
  • Indonesia: Jakarta Composite Index … +5.8%
  • Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur Composite Index … -0.48%
  • Singapore: Straits Times Index … -3.5%
  • Thailand: Stock Exchange of Thailand … -4.1%
  • Vietnam: Vietnam Stock Index … -11.07%

Only two of the six countries registered positive performance during the first three months of 2009. The Philippines is currently leading among the Southeast Asian markets, and if this 3-month performance will continue, the local bourse will most likely end 2009 with a performance similar to the full-year +21.4% performance in 2007.

This surge is currently sparking discussions among local stock traders and analysts on whether the market has bottomed out and if it’s the right time now to buy stocks again.

A friend who trades part-time shared that he already earned 12% during the past 3 weeks and, according to him, he plans to make more stock placements in the coming weeks.

On the other hand, a conservative trader I know warns that the bear market may still not be over so it’s better not to jump full-blown into the trading bandwagon again but rather to do it slowly.

Personally, I’m seeing a renewed interest of traders in the local stock market which I think signals more trading activity, and hopefully, increases in stock prices. My plan is to test the waters again starting this week but won’t do daily trading yet like I did before unless I am fully convinced the bear market has ended.

What about you? What’s your outlook on the stock market?

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.