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Vote for the South Korean equity market downgraded from neutral to underweight – Commerzbank column

After the historic “Corona crash” in March 2020, prices recovered significantly in the second, third and first two months of the fourth quarter. The KOSPI achieved a new all-time high on December 7th, 2020 with 2,754 points. In November 2020, the best month for the global stock markets in stock market history, the MSCI KoreaIndex gained 17.9% and thus achieved a significant outperformance (MSCI World Index: + 12.2%). In the first eleven months of 2020, this results in a full plus of 23.4%. The KOSPI, which has increased by 25% since the beginning of 2020 and thus achieved the best performance in Asia ex-Japan together with Taiwan (+ 18.8%), is now trading 26% above the 200-day line; a very rare occurrence. Since the annual low on March 19, 2020 (1,439 points), the cyclical South Korean benchmark index has risen by 90%. In our opinion, the South Korean stock market has anticipated a large part of the expected economic turnaround for 2021. On the basis of the company’s earnings growth of 45% (y / y) estimated for 2021, this results in a P / E ratio of almost 13, which – historically – can no longer be described as cheap. Since we see correction potential in the short term after the extraordinarily strong increase, we downgraded the vote for the South Korean stock market on December 7, 2020 from neutral to now underweight. A possible correction of the stock market in Q1 2021 of 10% or more would then in all probability cause us to become more positive again, provided that the global growth forecasts allow it. The downgrade of South Korea also implies that we neutralize our previous Asia ex-Japan overweight within EM equities (global). The overweight recommendation for China (Shanghai A-Index: + 12% since the beginning of 2020, as of December 7th, 2020) remains in place.

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