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CLICK TO ENLARGEPETALING JAYA: The Malaysian stock market is in dire need of liquidity and without the return of foreign investors, revving up the “engine” of the bourse can be an arduous feat.
With the country plunging into new uncertainty following the Prime Minister’s resignation yesterday and the high number of Covid-19 cases across most states, Bursa Malaysia seems to offer little in attracting foreign investors.
The fact that Fitch Solutions, the research unit of Fitch Rating, slashed Malaysia’s 2021 economic growth forecast to 0% from 4.9% previously, is of no help to Malaysia’s profile.
The downgrade by Fitch Solutions came three days after Bank Negara downgraded its 2021 growth forecast to between 3% and 4%, from 6% to 7.5% earlier.
Rakuten Trade head of research Kenny Yee said the valuations of almost all of the top 10 constituent stocks on FBM KLCI have been suppressed due to incessant selling by foreign funds.Rakuten Kenny Yee
As a result, these stocks are currently trading below their historical price-to-earnings (PE) ratio.
Speaking during a virtual briefing yesterday, Yee said Bursa Malaysia’s stock valuations have turned attractive but there are not many takers.
“Apart from the technology and transport indices, the other indices are all trading below their 2015-2019 average PE,” he pointed out.
Year-to-date till Aug 11, Bursa Malaysia has recorded a net foreign outflow of RM5.9bil. In 2020, net foreign outflow hit a record high of RM24bil.
Nevertheless, Malaysia is not the only country in South-East Asia to suffer from foreign fund outflows. Year-to-date, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand have also faced massive foreign outflows, with the latter two experiencing larger outflows than Malaysia.
Looking ahead, however, Yee foresees that foreign funds may make a comeback at least by year-end.
The return of some foreign funds, supported by solid earnings growth as well as alluring valuations, would push FBM KLCI to touch 1,650 points by end-2021, he said.
This would mean that the barometer index of Bursa Malaysia could increase by almost 150 points in less than five months.
Ahead of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation yesterday, the FBM KLCI fell to an intraday low of 1,493.60 points.
However, by the time the market closed, the index pared most of its losses and closed at an intraday high of 1,502.90 points - down by 2.21 points or 0.15%.
Market breadth was negative, with 633 decliners trumping 377 gainers. A total of 422 counters remained unchanged.
Yee believes that it is a “matter of time” for foreign funds to trickle back to the Asian region.