BUSINESS and politics do mix as far as the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is concerned. Do the listed companies agree with this analysis of the market by PSE chairman Jose Pardo?
Here are some quotes from a PSE press release last year:
1. “The Philippine Stock Exchange commended the leadership of President Benign S. Aquino 3rd for helping increase investor confidence in the economy and contribute to the rise of the PSEi to the 8,000 level.”
2. “At the 8,000 point level, the index is giving returns just this year of already more than 10 percent.”
3. “This can only mean one thing, confidence in the economy under your leadership, Mr. President.”
The public investors are advised to access www.pse.com.ph to find PSE’s press release dated April 14, 2015. The quotes above were the highlights of the welcome remarks Pardo delivered during a visit to the exchange by the Palace’s Chico.
Incidentally or not, the president’s visit was timed with the PSEi’s record high performance which topped 8,000 points.
Pardo happens to be a businessman. As one of three independent directors, he is also the chairman of PSE’s 15-person board. With their silence over Pardo’s all-praise welcome ode for the president, the other directors apparently agreed with him in attributing to Malacañang’s casual chief PSEi’s climb to 8,000 points and beyond. They were Hans Sicat, director, president and chief executive officer; Emmanuel Bautista, Anabelle Chua, David Chua, Francis Chua, Eddie Gobing, Amor Iliscupidez, Edgardo Lacson, Eusebio Tanco, Robert g. Vergara, Ma. Vivian Yuchengco, Alejandro Yu, Dakila Fonacier, and Ramon Monzon, independent directors. Like Pardo, the last two names in the enumeration are also independent directors.
Due Diligencer is asking the readers of The Manila Times to bear patience in perusing this litany of names. Its intention is only to make them aware of how Pardo and the rest of the members of PSE’s management team have politicized the stock market. Their silence over Pardo’s expression of love meant only one thing: that they, like their chairman, are ardent admirers of the national leadership. Because they loved him then and probably still love him very much today, they tolerated the incursion of politics’ into the stock market.
Whatever happened to market forces that supposedly determine stock prices?
The question is better addressed to Pardo and Sicat, who may have been taking for granted investors’ contribution to the market’s daily trades. To them and to the rest of the PSE’s managers, the public’s role in the capital market may seem to be too insignificant to even be considered as major market players. In short, they have been downgraded to mere observers of stock price movements.
Here is another poser: will PSEi hit 10,000 points, as Malacañang’s casual resident suggested when he leaves Malacañang on June 30, 2016? His target is more than 2,600 points, or about 36 percent, away from Friday’s close of 7,360.05 points.
A 36-percent rise in the PSEi would mean that much gain for an investor who would have sold on or before June 30 his choices among the 30 stocks that make up the index, based on the president’s prediction of 10,000 points.
Whatever happened to the public’’ contribution to the market’s daily trades?
It is really a pity that Pardo, a businessman whose family holds the franchise to a store chain, has failed to appreciate the public investors’ role in the capital market. Instead of providing them with appreciable but believable numbers, he told them his president was the major contributor to the PSEi hitting 8,000 plus points.
Pardo should have known that without the small investors, he would not have had an exchange that elected him as an independent director and designated him chairman of the board. Besides, without the public investors, he would have no PSE to represent to express his undying love for Malacañang’s chief but casual occupant who, luckily for many, would be out of the palace by July 1.
I do not know why Pardo, Sicat and their fellow executives who run the exchange would credit to their president every record high of the market’s main barometer.
There is nothing to explain in Pardo’s press statement. Every word in it shows the obvious, which is, that PSEi scored 5,000 points in 2012 and 8,000 points and more in 2015 because their honorary chief executive made it happen.