Gambling stocks and third-liners are providing the action and tragedy in what has so far been a lackluster year for the Philippine Stock Exchange.
While the PSE Index may be down nearly four percent in the first nine months of the year due to scarce foreign buying, market watchers are getting entertained by the hefty gains of Digiplus Interactive (PLUS) and Pacific Online Systems (LOTO) of bilyonaryo Willy Ocier, alongside the setbacks faced by businessman Antonio Tiu’s stocks – Greenergy Holdings (GREEN), Agrinurture Inc. (ANI), and Philippine Infradev Holdings (INFRA).
PLUS, the operator of Bingo Plus, stands out as the hottest stock of the year, boasting a 186 percent increase as of end-September. The company’s new owner has propelled Bingo Plus to become the most downloaded app, with over 20 million registrations since the change in management. The stock has seen a surge since CLSA projected profits to skyrocket from P602 million in 2022 to P1.921 billion in 2023.
Another notable gainer is LOTO, the lottery system operator in partnership with Philippine Gaming Management Corp., with a remarkable 111 percent increase in the first nine months of the year. LOTO’s ascent gained momentum in August after the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office revealed plans to enlist LOTO’s assistance in bringing lotto games online.
Other top gainers for the year include Ionics (up 109 percent), SSI Group (up 90 percent), Keppel Philippines (up 76 percent), EEI (up 67 percent), Cemex Holdings (up 59 percent), East Coast Vulcan (up 55 percent), Lopez Holdings (up 52 percent), and Metro Pacific Investments (up 51 percent).
In the roster of stock stinkers, Tiu claims three out of the 10 spots for the worst performing stocks in the first nine months this year – GREEN, the second-worst performer, records a 68 percent loss; ANI is down by 58 percent, and INFRA has declined by 47 percent.
Tiu stays true to form, maintaining his infamous track record of failing to deliver on his highly touted ventures. Tiu has already resigned as director of INFRA and GREEN.
The other top losers so far this year are Geograce Resources (down 76 percent), PXP Energy (down 57 percent), Enex Energy (down 55 percent), Medco Holdings (down 51 percent), ABS-CBN (down 49 percent), and Manila Mining A and B (down 48 percent).