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Emerging Markets Turning Attractive Again, Say Global Brokerages

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Emerging markets will be again in favour as the recent rout driven by higher fuel prices and a foreign investor selloff narrowed the gap with developed economies, according to global brokerages.

Valuations have fallen in emerging markets sufficiently to compensate for many key uncertainties, Jonathan Garner, equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a report. Emerging market GDP and earnings growth versus the U.S. should narrow, according to the investment bank, which prefers markets outside the U.S. and upgraded developing nations by two notches to ‘overweight’.

The growth differential, according to Chetan Ahya, chief economist and global head of economics at Morgan Stanley, will swing back in favour of emerging markets. The investment bank is overweight on Brazil, Indonesia, India and Thailand.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index has fallen nearly 16 percent so far this year compared with a gain of 34 percent in 2017. That’s because higher oil prices threatened the developing economies and foreign investors pulled out money as the dollar strengthened and rates rose in the U.S. The S&P 500 surged to a record in August but has since erased gains as the rally lost steam, driven down by technology stocks.

Emerging market asset valuations have reverted from the “expensive” territory at start of 2018 and they “now appear inexpensive relative to our models and to history”, Kamakshya Trivedi, co-head of emerging markets and forex research at Goldman Sachs, wrote in a note.

Macquarie recommends investors should consider small caps in Asia (excluding Japan) in anticipation of a possible emerging market surge in 2019. Small caps have underperformed the broader market by 18 percent in the past three years due to declining liquidity and narrow market breadth, Felix Rusli of Macquarie wrote.

JPMorgan is cautious though. The expected emerging market GDP growth of 4.4 percent in 2019 will be lower than 4.8 percent in 2018, driven largely by a slowdown in China and intensifying external risks, according to the investment bank. Still, it expects the emerging market equities to fare better than fixed income or cash returns and other stock markets.

Also Read: Buy Emerging Markets, Avoid Credit: Morgan Stanley's 2019 Plan

India Outlook

  • JPMorgan is neutral on India due to stabilising macros, impact of previous reforms and lower impact from trade disputes.
  • Goldman Sachs said India has a long way to go and will have to lift its growth path to catch up to converge with other emerging economies.
  • Morgan Stanley is overweight on Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, India and Thailand, and prefers sectors like materials and financials.

Top India Picks And Themes

  • Macquarie recommends CESC Ltd., Graphite India Ltd., HEG Ltd., Hexaware Technologies Ltd., Jubilant Foodworks Ltd., National Aluminium Company Ltd. and NCC Ltd.
  • Morgan Stanley recommends Gail India Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd., Larsen & Toubro Ltd.  and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., and identified State Bank of India Ltd. and Hindalco Ltd. being as value buys.
  • JPMorgan is bullish on financials and prefers information technology and healthcare among exporters.

Also Read: A $1 Trillion Manager Expects Emerging Market Rebound on Trade Truce Next Year

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