“We believe the recovery mode will persist on positive developments on the Covid-19 vaccine front. Hence, the broad-based realignment of stocks will continue with financial, plantation and tourism-related companies in the forefront, ” said Rakuten Trade's online equities broker’s research head Kenny Yee at a media briefing. KUALA LUMPUR: The local bourse may test 1,770 points in 2021 (premised on 16.5 times 2021 price-to-earnings ratio or PER), spurred by improving corporate earnings growth and economic recovery with Covid-19 vaccines’ availability, according to Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd. The online equities broker’s research head Kenny Yee said the FBM KLCI is expected to close at 1,620 points this year (or on 14.5 times 2021 PER). “We believe the recovery mode will persist on positive developments on the Covid-19 vaccine front. Hence, the broad-based realignment of stocks will continue with financial, plantation and tourism-related companies in the forefront, ” said Yee at a media briefing. He noted that the plantation sector has benefited a lot from the high crude palm oil (CPO) prices at above the RM3,000 per tonne level while the gaming sector, particularly Genting Bhd and Genting Malaysia Bhd, should improve significantly with Covid-19 vaccines’ availability. “Next year, the consensus among market analysts is a 50.7% improvement in corporate earnings while this year, it is a decline of 22.3%, ” said Yee. He also sees investors’ risk appetite increasing and equities to remain as the choice asset class, at the expense of treasuries or commodities. “We are still seeing a lot of liquidity flowing into equities because of this low interest-rate environment.” He said the new United States administration is seen as a better business partner; hence, regional currencies should strengthen against the US dollar. “We expect China to benefit substantially and we’ll see some positive spillover effect on regional economies, especially in South-East Asia.” Also, the ringgit is expected to strengthen against the greenback to possibly RM3.80/90 levels in 2021, as the ringgit/US dollar movements is the closest with yuan/US dollar. Yee also said the inclination of net foreign inflows into the local bourse next year is high, due to foreign shareholding on the local bourse at a multi-year low of below 12% in November (from an average of 20% a few years ago). He pointed out that there were record net foreign outflows of almost RM24bil year-to-date. “There is a low possibility of another massive net foreign outflow next year.” Meanwhile, retail participation on the local bourse is expected to remain strong in 2021. Yee pointed out that year-to-date, funds flow into the local bourse from local retailers had risen almost four-fold (compared to 2019 average), to RM12.19bil from RM2.56bil. As a result, the local bourse experienced a surge in daily trading volume averaging seven billion shares (February to year-to-date) from 2.5bil shares in 2019 (a 179% jump). Rakuten Trade’s stock picks are AppAsia Bhd, D’nonce Technology Bhd, RCE Capital Bhd, Supercomnet Technologies Bhd and TCS Group Holdings Bhd. The research unit’s recovery stock picks are AirAsia Group Bhd, Genting Bhd, Genting Malaysia Bhd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd.
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