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PETALING JAYA: Banking stocks have been moving ahead of their results announcements, with some banks inching closer to their 52-week high levels.
The uptrend in such stocks has also helped to push the FBM KLCI higher over the past two weeks, adding over 65 points or 4.34% in the period. Analysts said that investors are looking at banking stocks once again, largely due to improved market sentiment as political squabbles recede and more economic sectors are reopened.
The upcoming results for the banking sector may not be “extremely encouraging”, according to an analyst, but the modification losses and credit cost impact on their earnings would be more “manageable”.
Rakuten Trade head of equity sales Vincent Lau (pic below) believes that the worst is likely over for the banking sector, unless “a new lockdown is announced”.Rakuten Vincent Lau cq
“The sector’s non-performing loans should improve and the impact from the ongoing loan moratorium should also be more muted than the first blanket moratorium announced last year,” he said.
With the reopening of more economic sectors and the upcoming Budget 2022 announcement in about two months’ time, Lau said the economy would likely improve.
“In tandem with this, the outlook for the banking sector also improves as it is the barometer of the economy.
“Coupled with the improving political landscape that has boosted sentiment, this could be a reason why investors are looking at banking stocks again,” he added.
Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd head of research Koh Huat Soon, meanwhile, said the uptrend in banking stocks could be more “market related”, rather than because of earnings expectations.
“Banking stocks carry a large weightage on the FBM KLCI. Given the increased economic activities as the economy is reopened, investors who want to benefit from market improvement would choose to invest in banking stocks,” he said.
In addition, banking stocks’ current valuations are also appealing to investors, Koh added.
Within the past two weeks, banking stocks in Malaysia have reversed their movements, following several months of downtrend.
Malayan Banking Bhd, for example, had been on a downtrend since March this year, but the share price has increased by 3.7% since Aug 11 to RM8.33. The 52-week high level was RM9.01 per share.
Public Bank Bhd, which hit its year-to-date low on Aug 19 after a downtrend since March, has since recovered by 4.86% to RM4.10. The 52-week high level was RM4.97 per share.