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16 January 2013

TA 2013 Malaysia Outlook: Ride the Volatility

By TA Securities,

We believe 1H13 will be a choppy period and election concerns could drag down the FBM KLCI by 8% to 10% in the period before market rebounds in the 2H13. The impetus for revival will mainly hinge on the end of election overhang and strong domestic demand.

Sustained monetary easing on the back of low inflationary pressure and attempts to reduce budget deficits by cutting subsidies and channeling the savings to productive ventures are positive despite the short-term impact on earnings. Overall, domestic economy will play an integral role in sustaining confidence in domestic equities next year in the absence of any overwhelming micro drivers.

Corporate earnings for 9M12 were less robust and we forecast full year earnings growth for the FBM KLCI to be 9.4% only. Chances of a strong revival in the immediate-term are minimal based on external sentiment and dwindling demand in key export markets. Our earnings growth forecast of 8% and 8.4% for CY13 and CY14 is not compelling vis-a-vis key regional emerging market's 16.1% and 14.7% respectively. It could come under further pressure if the implementation of minimum wages had greater impact in raising the input cost than the intended increase in disposable income and spending. High likelihood of subsidy cuts (electricity tariff and fuel price increases) post 13th General Election would be negative on earnings and will prompt us to trim our CY13 and CY14 forecasts by 1.2% and 4.9% respectively.

How about Foreign Markets?
External factors will continue to dictate the market directions. The structural flaws cannot be undone overnight but expect bouts of positive improvements to kick in the 2H13 as fats are trimmed and jobs created. China could revive its domestic growth without stoking inflationary pressure but it can be destabilizing factor if its row with Japan escalates. The same applies to Iran and the West.

Can KLCI end Strong this year?
We derived our end-2013 target of 1,710 for FBM KLCI after applying 2008-2011 average forward PER of 14.3x on mid-cycle EPF of 120 sen. The underlying key assumption is that BN will return to power with slim majority. This target is a 5% discount to our bottom-up valuation of 1,800.

FBM KLCI performance before and after 2008 Malaysia's election
Sell-on-strength, especially overvalued defensive plays in the Consumer, Healthcare and Telco sectors and turn cash-heavy to accumulate high beta plays in domestic sectors, which are mainly related to Construction, Oil & Gas and Property sectors, in 1H13. Banking sector holds good buys based on their attractive valuation, still robust loan growth and bright chances of benefiting from ongoing domestic expansions.

Source: TA securities report

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