SOMETHING bad is happening in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), a private organization led by President Ramon Monzon, which has the respectable Jose T. Pardo as chairman of the board.
The market failed to open this morning at 9 a.m. and it is almost 12 noon now that this column is being written, the PSE remains closed.
This is all right because even institutions sometimes suffer computer glitches, but the decent ones have the decency to inform their clientele what is happening.
Monzon is not one to subscribe to that code of decency.
Hundreds of traders and small investors are making noise, even a ruckus, at Investagrams asking what happened, making jokes, too, in exasperation.Nothing has been heard from Monzon, at least not officially.
It is good that we have a Miguel R. Camus of the Philippine Daily Inquirer who apparently has received two text messages from Monzon and promptly relayed it to the public through Twitter.
Said Camus, quoting Monzon:
"43 brokers unable to connect to our trading engine. Under our protocol if 1/3 or more of the brokers are unable to connect, we have to halt trading. NASDAQ (our trading platform) and FLEXTRADE (our front end system) troubleshooting their respective systems to pinpoint problem and devise solution."
This explanation by PSE President and CEO Ramon Monzon is a second-hand information from Camus, and so can be treated with a grain of salt.
No official announcement or explanation from the PSE or Monzon up until lunch time.
Such an insult to the Filipino public, to the Philippine economy, to the government regulators. SEC, are you listening? Secretaries of finance and trade and industry, are you listening? NBI, PNP are you people even aware?
First, let me put the situation in context. The PSE index was a high at 7334.75 last Dec. 29.This was pruned considerably to 7121.17 at close of the half-day trading on Dec. 31, 2021, the last day of the year. It further gapped down to 7102.16 at opening on the first trading day of the year yesterday, Jan. 3, 2022, at closed at 7041.27.
This happened presumably because of the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country, probably Omicron-driven, which saw the National Capital Region jumping from Alert level 2 to Alert level 3 starting tomorrow.
By all indications, it will be an avalanche of falling red knives when the market opens today -- if it will open at all. This column -- and we remind you of the caveat that Do Not Read This -- will venture the guess that a respite of one to two days closure will happen in the local bourse.
In Investa, the Professor has an explanation. He said the PSE Mafia is letting the big boys and their friends exit before plunging the index to below 6,000.The Professor has been a veteran in stock trading and knows very well whereof he speaks.
Also in Investa, from Josephusanthony:
"I hope PSE would be honest enough to inform the public about what is really happening. Seemingly this is a serious matter because it would affect the Philippine economy."
Another comment from Equity Research Notes:
"Technically, funds are frozen at the local equities market.
Ideally, technical glitches should have a turnaround to fix max of one day.It would be concerning if the glitch extends beyond one day since a lot of investment securities in banks, insurance, and capital markets, foreign and local are tied to equities.It means one thing:money can't get out of the system which may have adverse repercussions in the capital markets."
Very true, and the Investa public has reason to be angry.They will eat lunch expecting a word from President and CEO Monzon, and none is coming, at least not the second-hand info from an Inquirer reporter.Perhaps within the day?
Monzon is treating this financial disaster with nonchalance.Just like how he treated the great 2018 sex harassment scandal of the Miss Earth beauty pageant presented by Carousel Productions.