Saturday, April 1, 2023

JPMorgan says emerging markets are ‘under owned,’ stocks could rally as much as 20%


SINGAPORE — JPMorgan says stocks in emerging markets may rise as much 20% in 2021 after being largely ignored by investors this year.

“I think emerging markets are very under owned as we see in the markets rally,” Joyce Chang, chair of global research at JPMorgan, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

Besides China and India, many other emerging markets have been shunned by investors in 2020 as they largely flocked toward safety.

“We’re actually neutral on China right now, but we’ve upgraded the rest of emerging markets where we do think the valuations are attractive, and there’s more opportunity,” Chang said.

In particular, the firm sees opportunities for stocks in Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea as well as Thailand. In terms of industries, Chang said the consumer discretionary sector as well as those related to entertainment and leisure also have room to “catch up.”

Asked about the potential for emerging markets broadly to outperform their developed market peers in 2021, the JPMorgan analyst said stocks in the developing world could see “double digit” gains of up to 20%.

“There’s I think a rotation, you know, outside of China to come,” Chang said.

Historically, investors have had about 9% allocated overall to emerging market stocks, she explained. At present, that allocation is around 7%.

“I think there’s scope for catch-up in 2021 for emerging markets,” she said.

That positive view also extends to bonds.

“In emerging markets bonds, we think you could get 5-6%, which is really pretty good considering how low-yielding and negative-yielding the developed market is right now,” Chang said. “There’s value there.”

In a bid to keep financial markets afloat, major central banks such as the U.S. Federal Reserve have slashed interest rates, lowering the cost of debt while also making bonds less attractive. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note has sat below 1% for most of 2020 so far. In comparison, the yield on the 10-year Chinese government bond was at 3.32%, as of Friday morning Singapore time.

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