Investing in Stocks: Why You Should

People often talk about stocks, shares, equity, the stock market, etc. and how they have either made money from stocks or how stocks trading can make one wealthy, meaning stocks trading could be a vehicle to wealth.

But what are stocks? How do they work? And how can they affect or help the economy or investors?

What Are Stocks?

A share of stock is, basically, a share of the company's ownership. Buying a stock or share entitles you to a small portion of a company's assets and profits/earnings. Assets have to do with all the company owns (buildings, equipment, brands), while earnings involve all the money the company makes from the sales of their products and services.

The Philippine Stock Exchange

The Philippine Stock Exchange (or PSE) is the only stock exchange that can be found in the Philippines and is one of the oldest stock exchanges in Asia. This stock exchange is made possible by its 15 Board of Directors spearheaded by its Chairman, Jose T. Pardo. But before this stock exchange has been put in the hands of these people, do you know how PSE actually started?

Prior to PSE’s establishment, the Manila Stock Exchange (or MSE), a stock exchange established on August 8, 1927, was first trusted by Filipinos. On May 27, 1963, another stock exchange, the Makati Stock Exchange (or MkSE), was established. Both the MSE and the MkSE continued in trading the same stocks of the same companies for almost 30 years until these two bourses were finally combined and became the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Philippine Stock Exchange

Philippine Stock Exchange trading floor. (Source: GMA Network)

PSE was granted a “Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO)” status by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in June 1998. This status gave PSE the right to implement its own rules and to penalize errors of trading participants (TPs) and listed companies under it.

PSE was a non-profit, non-stock, member-governed organization at first. But a year after it was given the SRO status, it turned into a shareholder-based, revenue-earning corporation, and started to be led by a president and board of directors. PSE eventually introduced the list of its own shares on the exchange on December 15, 2003.

The Philippine Stock Exchange has been taking several steps to ensure the welfare of its stakeholders. It has an agency that coordinates settlements and manages risk for broker transactions and administrates trade guaranty fund, the Securities Clearing Corporation of the Philippines (SCCP). It also adopted an Online Daily Disclosure System (ODiSy) that provides 24/7 online system access for disclosure submissions. Aside from these steps, PSE improved its trading system with PSEtrade, a system designed for a trading wide range of cash, debt, and derivative instruments.

In 2011, the market regulation division of PSE has been turned into a separate company named Capital Markets Integrity Corporation (CMIC) for a better corporate governance. In 2013, PSE’s strategic plan focused on introducing more products and services to the market. The stock exchange eventually launched its online service bureau, and continuously strived until it was listed in Singapore Exchange and finally forayed into Islamic Finance. PSE continued its several initiatives and its awareness campaign of products. Not only this, but PSE did not stop addressing the need of its stakeholders as it began embracing technology-related projects. With all of these efforts, PSE’s goal to have a unified local capital market was achieved.

Now that you already know about PSE, you might have some concerns, but don’t worry because you can visit them at their trading floors located in PSE Centre (Tektite), Ortigas Center in Pasig, or at their principal office at Ayala Tower One in Makati City’s Central Business District. PSE has daily continuous trading sessions from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM, and a break from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM. You can also visit the PSE website @ www.pse.com.ph

How Stock Market Works?

Companies need money and to get more, they would have to, at some point, share their earnings and assets with the public. Companies basically have two ways of raising funds to cover the start-up or expansion costs of their businesses: they could borrow money (known as debt financing) or sell stocks (also called equity financing).

Borrowing money or debt financing means a company must repay the loan with interest. Whereas stock sales imply, the company raises more money with fewer strings attached – no interest to pay and no demand to pay back at all. Better still, for the owners of the company, equity financing spreads the risks of the business among a larger group of investors (shareholders). In the event of failure, the owners of the company only get to lose a fraction of their money, as well as, smaller amounts invested by their several thousands of stockholders.

How The Stock Market Helps The Economy

In general, the stock market is a reflection of a country’s economic condition. When the economy develops, production increases and most companies should be experiencing an increase in profitability resulting in the company's shares becoming more attractive as they can give higher dividends to shareholders.

But the market also plays an essential role in the economy. It provides liquidity and is a good source of financing for companies that need it. And, in general, the growth, blossoming and prosperity of the businesses in a country result in economic growth and prosperity of the economy. Let me explain a little more in the simplest way possible:

A startup raises funds from venture capitalists or family and friends. Then growing to an extent they finance their growth with some other venture capitalists or from private equity, resulting in a larger company. At this point, venture capitalists and private equity investors cannot provide sufficient funds for this size of business. But since the stock market has many investors, it can provide the necessary resources to help the company grow even more and create jobs. So without a stock market, there will be difficulty providing some of the resources needed to help businesses grow on a larger scale, thereby resulting in a loss of all the benefits that would have come to the economy and individuals. Benefits like employment, improved standard of living, progress, etc.

So fundamentally, so financing growth on a very scale is difficult without the stock market.

How Investors Profit in the Stock Market

Investing is one of the surefire ways to make your money grow. While there are economic downturns every now and then, and volatile stock prices are constantly affected by these events, the long-term financial trend when it comes to investing is upward. That means your money can only grow bigger, so if you are already investing, or are thinking of investing, you are definitely on the right track.

Individual investors in stocks benefit from an increase in the value or prices of the stocks they purchased and the dividends that accrue from those stocks, especially when the value of the company whose stocks or shares were purchased is increasing. They also can benefit from selling these stocks when they appreciate in value and as a result selling them will help one recover both the initial capital (funds) invested in the purchase of these shares and some profit from the sales of the stock. Hence, it is a vehicle of accumulating wealth for some people.

If you have more related questions about stock market investing in the Philippines, simply put those in the comments section below. We will answer your questions to the best of our knowledge.

Want to learn more about the stock market? Click here to see the complete details and schedules of seminars you can attend. Open a trading account with any online stockbrokers in the country listed here.

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