SCBS sees bourse hitting 1,700 points this year

SCBS sees bourse hitting 1,700 points this year

Strong earnings growth per share likely, says SCBS. PORNPROM SATRABHAYA
Strong earnings growth per share likely, says SCBS. PORNPROM SATRABHAYA

The SET index will reach 1,700 points this year supported by strong earnings per share (EPS) growth of 8-10%, SCB Securities (SCBS) said yesterday.

On Thursday the SET index closed at 1,575.28 points.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand is expected to trend up in the third quarter to 1,650 points and hit 1,700 points shortly afterwards, said Isara Ordeedolchest, SCBS senior vice-president of the investment strategy department.

The index could continue rising to 1,800 points in 2018 as the economy continues to rebound and with an expected pickup in private investment, he said.

"The SET index may break 1,800 points if the general election is held [next year]," he added.

With an estimated resistance point projected at 1,530 points this year, Mr Isara said the projected climb to about 1,600 points is equivalent to a 7-8% increase as the index normally grows at double the rate of GDP growth.

"Neither fundamental nor technical factors are expected to pressure the index to slump to 1,200 or 1,300 points as we have seen before," he said.

SCBS expects the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again in December, with three more increases likely next year as US labour, wage and salary indices have shown clear signs of recovery.

Despite wobbles in the economic rebound, more signs of improved momentum and GDP growth are expected in the second quarter than in the first three months of 2017, Mr Isara said.

He said the three economic drivers of private consumption, government spending and exports are not strong enough to balance excess capacity and propel new private investment incentives.

The securities company forecasts growth in private investment by year's end on the back of government stimulus measures, with the Eastern Economic Corridor project serving to attract foreign investment flows.

SCBS senior vice-president Pornthep Jubandhu said expectations that the SET index will hit 1,700 points are based on a forward price-earnings ratio (PE) of 14.9 and the belief that EPS growth will reach 8-10% or 114 baht per share.

He said Thai stocks have a lower PE than stocks in other Southeast Asian nations like Malaysia and Indonesia.

"The stronger baht, which has strengthened by 5-6% so far this year, is not an obstacle because the rate of appreciation is in line with the weakening US dollar. This will not disadvantage Thai exporters compared with neighbouring countries."

SCBS advises watching stocks in the third quarter that are tied to the three slumping industries of healthcare (BDMS, CHG), energy (PTT, IRPC) and electronics (KCE, SVI). Recommended companies have been added in parentheses.

Foreign investors have not exited Thailand, as indicated by a net stock purchase of 10 billion baht in the year-to-date and a 20% expansion in foreign trading volume, Mr Pornthep said.

"Foreign investors will play a more aggressive role but they will start trading stocks on a rotation strategy," he added.

A decline in government bond yield in Thailand's financial market is another factor making the bourse appear more attractive, Mr Pornthep said. The bond yield has declined from 3.5% to 2.5% while the earnings yield has climbed to 4%, reflecting a cheaper valuation of Thai shares.

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