(Updates with analyst’s comments from third paragraph.)
Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Emerging-market stocks may rise 39 percent by the end of next year, spurred by a “soft landing” for China’s economy, earnings growth and cheap valuations, according to Morgan Stanley.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index may jump to 1,355 by the end of 2012 from 976.86 at the end of trading yesterday, Jonathan Garner, Morgan Stanley’s chief emerging-market and Asia strategist, said in an interview from Singapore. The U.S. brokerage joined UBS AG in favoring Chinese stocks for next year, bolstered by confidence the government will loosen monetary policies to support Asia’s biggest economy.
“Inflation is probably going to fall going forward and we hope for a soft landing in growth,” said Hong Kong-based Garner, whose Asian research team was second-ranked by Institutional Investor magazine this year. “We should be in a better environment for the stock market.”
The MSCI developing-nation index has rallied 17 percent from this year’s low on Oct. 4, as policy makers from China to Indonesia moved to support economic growth by refraining from raising borrowing costs or by lowering them. The emerging- markets gauge trades at 10.4 times estimated earnings, compared with 12 times for the MSCI World Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“We suspect the rally has already begun from the low in early October,” said Garner. MSCI’s emerging-markets gauge dropped 0.7 percent to 969.74 as of 12:47 p.m. in Singapore, following a two-day, 2.4 percent increase.
Morgan Stanley favors China most among emerging markets in Asia and its consumer companies. The Shanghai Composite Index has risen 9.1 percent from this year’s low on Oct. 21 as inflation slowed and the government announced measures to help small businesses through easier access to bank loans. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong has climbed 15 percent since Oct. 21.
China’s consumer price gains slowed to 5.5 percent in October from a three-year high of 6.5 percent in July, giving the government greater scope to unwind monetary tightening as Europe’s debt crisis hurt exports.
“We expect a soft landing in China and earnings growth should hold up very well in this environment, we think the market is too cheap,” said Garner. China may cut interest rates in the first half of 2012, he said.
The Shanghai Composite’s 10 percent drop this year, following a 14 percent slide in 2010, has driven down reported price earnings to 13.2 times, compared with 26.4 times at the start of trading last year, according to weekly data compiled by Bloomberg. China’s central bank has raised interest rates three times in 2011 and lifted the reserve-requirement ratio to curb asset bubbles.
UBS also prefers China, along with India and Brazil, among emerging markets for 2012. Developing-nation stocks may rise 13 percent next year, with gains dependent on the “normalization of the equity risk premium,” the brokerage said in a report yesterday.
Morgan Stanley’s Garner said he’s avoiding Indian equities, along with Taiwanese stocks, next year because of a “deteriorating” return on equity.
Estimates for Indian corporate earnings may be downgraded as Asia’s third-largest economy slows, N. Krishnan, head of India research at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, said yesterday.
“There is still some downside to next year’s earnings as well even though the cuts have been coming in,” said Krishnan, whose team was ranked first for India research in a poll by Institutional Investor magazine this year. “We are in the midst of a broader slowdown in economic growth. Earnings could see some degree of cuts.”
--Editors: Allen Wan, Darren Boey
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