Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thai shares at 760 points overvalue

SETStocks will be seriously overvalued if the SET Index reaches 760 points, the Securities Analysts Association warned yesterday, while the market got a downgrade from overweight to neutral by MFC Asset Management.

The SET Index has rallied about 90 per cent from the year's trough at about 380 points and it would have doubled at 760, SAA secretarygeneral Sombat Narawuttichai said.

At that point, it would risk a steep correction from profittaking, he said.

Even at 700 the SET exceeds its fundamental value based on pricetoearnings (P/E) and discounted cashflow analyses.

The economy can support the SET at only 630-650, some analysts have said.

About 40 per cent of all market securities are overvalued, 50 per cent are undervalued and 10 per cent are in line with their fundamentals.

Thai shares have jumped 61 per cent so far this year, underperforming the Asian region.

Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh Stock Index has gained 84 per cent, Jakarta Composite Index 81 per cent and India's Sensex 74 per cent.

Even though the SAA and MFC Asset Management said the SET Index over 700 points is overvalued, Asia Plus Securities CEO Kongkiat Opaswongkarn and ING Funds (Thailand) managing director Maris Tarab recently estimated that shares would reach 800 within this year.

Sombat said 91 per cent of analysts responding to the SAA's survey were moderately confident in the government's Strong Thailand economic stimulus package, and 9 per cent were highly confident.

Altogether 23 securities analysts answered the questionnaire after the SAA and analysts met Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanich on September 11.

About threefourths of the respondents have medium confidence and the others have high confidence.

Four per cent of the respondents are not confident that the government's investment scheme can go on until 2012 as planned regardless of political changes, 43 per cent have low confidence, 48 per cent have medium confidence and the rest have high confidence.

The analysts agreed unanimously that construction and building material companies would benefit from the scheme but some stocks were overvalued.

After meeting with Korn, some analysts started preparing to upgrade the country's 2010 gross domestic product forecast by about 1 percentage point from the SAA's current consensus of 3 per cent.

Supakorn Soontornkit, senior executive vice president of MFC, told reporters that his company downgraded the stock market as it exceeds his company's base and bestcase scenario for 2009 at 675 and 720 points, respectively.

"I expect that funds flow will continue and shortterm investors can still pile up on stocks but they must be prudent. The SET Index will not reach the 800 level. However, it will not fall below 700 points," he said.

MFC forecasts the SET at 680 in the worstcase, 750 in the basecase and 820 in the bestcase scenarios for next year.

His company recommends investing in three to four-year debt instruments offering coupon rates of 3.54 per cent but avoiding putting money in shorter debt instruฌments as yields are going up.

It is also slightly overweight on commodities and real estate investment trusts.

Pichit Akrathit, president of MFC Asset Management, said his company is marketing the I-Emerging 10 Fund until Monday.

The fund's policy is to invest in equities, debt instruments and deposits in emerging countries worldwide, depending on market conditions.

MFC plans to launch a property fund investing in an office building in Bangkok as well as the Thailand Creativity Fund, investing in innoฌvative businesses.

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