Jun 4, 2020

Asia Markets: UBS sees Asia as 'the only region' with positive earnings growth this year

Eustance Huang

As equity markets continue to see upward momentum from the reopening of economies that were under coronavirus lockdown, some may wonder if it’s too late to put their money into stocks now.

There’s one bright spot, according to the co-head of asset allocation at UBS Global Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office, Adrian Zuercher, who remains bullish on Asia.

“We are overweight Asian ex-Japan equities at this point,” Zuercher told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Wednesday. “I think for us, that’s the only region that will have positive earnings growth this year and also next year, double digit earnings growth.”
Zuercher’s comments came as global markets saw a strong rally in recent days, with positive momentum building over developments such as the easing of lockdown measures that left global economies at a virtual standstill.
Since the start of June, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index has jumped 6.07%, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon. Still, it has struggled to reclaim earlier highs, with the index more than 8% lower on a year-to-date basis.
In comparison, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index has risen 5.65% month-to-date while the Shanghai composite in mainland China has added 2.09% during the same time period. The two indexes have also seen losses of 13.94% and 4.53%, respectively, since the start of the year.
Stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 3.49% so far this month, while the S&P 500 advanced 2.52% in the same period. Year-to-date, the two indexes are down 7.95% and 3.4% respectively.
Commenting on the general market moves, Zuercher said: “I think we sort of passed ... the moment where we had this panic and … followed by this fiscal stimulus, monetary policy stimulus. And now we’re sort of in a repair mode of the economy.”
“I would say the market’s doing the right thing,” he said. “Things are improving, growth is improving.”
“As long as we’re sort of getting back on track in terms of reopening up the economy, I think that’ bes really the main driver of this market and that’s what the market will focus on and play on.”, Zuercher said.
However, he did acknowledge the potential for a market “overshoot” in the short-term, as many issues remain on the geopolitical front and there are “still speed bumps ahead” with growth “slowing down.”

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