Sunday, January 30, 2011

Will Karachi Stock Index Continue its Advance in 2011?

"The bottom line is that Pakistan is not going to go away. We want to buy stocks that look cheap as prices come down as a result of the flood."
Mark Mobius, Head, Templeton Asset Management Ltd

Pakistan's main shares index KSE-100 rose 28% (26% in US dollar terms) in year 2010, as profits registered 14% growth and dividend yields of 5.2% in the companies making up the index.

The market gains were driven by significant foreign buying, particularly by insitutional investors after the massive summer floods in KP, Punjab and Sindh provinces. Foreign institutional investors bought $1.2 billion worth of shares, and sold about $687 million, with the net FII capital inflow of $522 million during the year. One example of renewed foreign institutional buying after the post-floods market is Mark Mobius of the Templeton Asset Management Ltd, as reported by Businessweek. “There will be an impact on growth but company valuations are very, very attractive now and therefore we continue to invest in Pakistan despite all the negatives,” Mobius said in an interview in Singapore. “The bottom line is that Pakistan is not going to go away. We want to buy stocks that look cheap as prices come down as a result of the flood.”

As of Dec 31, 2010, Mobius had 4.8% of his $17 billion Templeton Asian Growth Fund invested in Pakistan.

The highest performing sectors were food and beverage (65%), oil and gas (40%), chemicals (30%) and personal goods(20%). These were followed by smaller gains in electricity, fixed-line telecom, automobiles, and construction materials, according to JS Global research. Oil and gas shares now make up 36% of KSE's total marke cap, a major shift from 2007 when financial services made up 31% of the Karachi Stock Exchange market cap of about $40 billion.

Even with lower than historic average gains in a challenging year, KSE-100 easily beat the performance of Mumbai(+17%) and Shanghai(-14.3%) key indexes. Among other BRICs, Brazil is up just 1% for the year, and the dollar-traded Russian RTS index rose 22% in the year, reaching a 16-month closing high of 1,769.57 on Tuesday, while the rouble-based MICEX is also up 22%.

After the 26% gain in 2010, the KSE-100 shares still trade at PE ratio of just 8, significantly discounted relative to KSE's historic price-earnings multiple of 10, and other regional markets of Shanghai and Manila at 15, and Mumbai at about 20.

While the big interest rate hikes by Pakistan's central bank (SBP) to fight inflation have dramatically reduced liquidity for local investors, the massive economic stimulus (aka quantative easing policy to jumpstart the US economy) by the US Federal Reserve has unleashed a torrent of US dollars looking globally for good returns on investment. This is likely to continue to push shares in the emerging markets higher through at least 2011.

The problem with the foreign institutional investment (FII) is that it can be very destabilizing for an emerging economy. It is often described as hot money, and it can leave as quickly as it comes in. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Laureate Columbia University economist, has argued that India is more vulnerable to an asset bubble than China, saying that “strong economies that don’t yet have capital control become the focal point” for the liquidity injected by the US Federal Reserve. Stiglitz thinks that India, more than China or Brazil, should watch out for the tidal wave of money made available from the Fed’s quantitative easing.

In Pakistan's case, however, the amount of FII has so far been very small relative to its market capitalization and the size of the country's GDP. If foreign portfolio investment dollars continue to come in at the same or even a bit higher rate in 2011 as they did last year, it will likely result in a healthy situation in providing necessary liquidity and help push the market up again this year.

Other factors that will the affect the KSE market performance this year include:

1. Continued rise in exports, overseas Pakistanis' remittances, and other inflows for a healthy current account balance which ended in surplus of $26 million in 2010.

2. Enhanced domestic liquidity expected from the launch of new leveraged financial products in 2011.

3. Movement toward better manangement of the energy crisis leading to fewer blackouts and brownouts.

4. Progress on balancing the budget, with better tax collection and higher tax receipts in 2011.

5. Implementation of the IMF program, stabilization of prices, reduction in interest rates, and rising foreign exchange reserves.

6. Improvement in the overall security situation with perceptible reduction in violence.

Here's a video on how to invest in Pakistan:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's 2010-2011 Budget Priorities

Pakistan's Exports and Remittances Rise to New Highs

Pakistan's KSE Outperforms BRIC Exchanges in 2010

High Cost of Failure to Aid Flood Victims

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010

Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009

Musharraf's Economic Legacy

Copper, Gold Deposits Worth $500 Billion at Reko Diq, Pakistan

China's Trade and Investment in South Asia

India's Twin Deficits

Pakistan's Economy 2008-2010


sohail Khan said...

I put my money in bank here in America. I think if I put in Karachi stock I will doublle money quickly plus there is no tax I think. In US you have to pay tax. I don't know how to do That because I want to put my saving $15000 in Karachi. I think in 3 years I have $30000!. Please give me on your website.

Riaz Haq said...

sohail: "I put my money in bank here in America. I think if I put in Karachi stock I will doublle money quickly plus there is no tax I think. In US you have to pay tax. I don't know how to do That because I want to put my saving $15000 in Karachi. I think in 3 years I have $30000!. Please give me on your website. "

There are several US-based international multual funds that invest in Pakistan...names like Eaton Vance, Matthews, Templeton, etc.

You can consider those as investment options, but clearly, it's not a good idea to put all your money in one place.. I suggest that you seek advice from a recognized international investment advisor before you do anything.

AA-NBS said...

Hello Sir!
Hope you are fine. Sir I am a student of Nust Business School and recently me and 4 of my friends participated in a competition by the name of CFA Global Investment Challenge. We pitched HUBCO to the Industry experts and Analysts as a BUY and won the first prize. Now we'll be representing Pakistan in the second leg of the competition in Bali, Indonesia. We'll be pitching Pakistan, KSE and HUBCO to the International Investors there for portfolio Investment. I was recently going through your blog where you have talked about KSE as one of the best stock exchanges of the world. I would like you to offer some advice on how to pitch Pakistan and KSE there in Indonesia and also, If you can kindly give us the references of the information that you have given at the blog like the returns of KSE. We'll be really grateful to you.

Riaz Haq said...

AA-NBS: "I would like you to offer some advice on how to pitch Pakistan and KSE there in Indonesia"

Here's how I would argue to attract investors to KSE:

1. KSE has a strong track record of investor returns over the last one year, five years an ten years.

2. KSE-100 index has outperformed other emerging markets, including BRICs, by a wide margin for over a decade.

3. The worst case investment risks in Pakistan are already reflected in the deep discounts of valuations of Pakistani shares in terms of price-earnings multiples.

4. KSE-100 shares are trading at price-earnings multiples (P-E ratio) of less than 8, about half of other Asian markets in the region.

5. Pakistanis are a young, resilient nation. The people of Pakisan have defied the dire forecasts made after Swat violence in 2009, and massive summer floods of 2010.

6. After the deluge of Aug-Sept 2010, Pakistan's rural economy has bounced back as reflected in rising tractor sales and bumper crops.

7. The KSE selloff during floods has attracted foreign buying, with over a billion dollars pouring in in 2010.

In the end, I would quote Mark Bendeich of Reuters who wrote on Jan 10, 2008:

"A little more than six years ago, immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. cities, few sane investment advisers would have recommended Pakistani stocks.
They should have. Their clients could have made a fortune.
Since 2001, the nuclear-armed South Asian country, blamed for spawning generations of Islamic militants and threatening global security, has been making millionaires like newly minted coins.
As Western governments have fretted about Pakistan's nuclear weapons falling into the hands of militants, the Karachi Stock Exchange's main share index has risen more than 10-fold."

And in spite of the 50% drop in KSE-100 2008,, those who invested and held their shares made a 5X return at the end of 2008, not bad.

And, even after the 50% drop in KSE-100 in 2008, any one who bought in year 2000 and held on till 2010, the return would be a whopping 12X, far outpacing returns on BRIC markets or anywhere else.

Click here to read a report from JS Global on KSE.

For more details, please read posts on my blogs which have lots of data with embedded and related links included.

Best of luck.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's the Daily Times stocks report for week ending Jan 29, 2011:

KARACHI: The Karachi stock market managed to close in the green zone on weekly basis due to strong results announcements, analysts said on Saturday.

The gains would have been a bit more but all eyes were on the monetary policy announcement where expectations of another 50 basis points hike in the policy rate led the investors to book profits during the week, they added. The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) 100-share index gained 30.79 points or 0.24 percent to close at 12,462.70 points as compared to 12,431.91 points of the previous week.

“The market started the week under pressure, as the first trading day of the week saw the 100-share index lose 61 points to 12,371 points,” said Invest Capital analyst Asad Siddiqui. “However, from the very next day positive movement was seen, but it remained range-bound between 12,446 points and 12,483 points.” The week saw good results coming in from the fertilizer and refinery sectors, however, the market volumes remained very low as average daily volumes stood at 117 million shares, taking a significant fall of 50 percent.

However, tax collections are yet to catch up with the target levels. Conversely, expectations by the country’s fiscal authorities for the fiscal deficit going beyond 8.0 percent and another cut in the development budget of the country by Rs 100 billion from the government, were a few concerns to watch out for. On foreign inflow front, the week witnessed a massive 57 percent decline to only $6.3 million.

The market turnover went down by 56.60 percent trading 87.90 million shares as against 202.58 million shares of the previous week. The overall market capitalisation increased by 0.17 percent and closed at Rs 3.369 trillion. JS Research analyst Sana Hanif, “All eyes were on the monetary policy announcement where expectations of another 50 basis points hike in the policy rate led the investors to book profits during the week.”

The multilateral donors have reportedly halted budgetary support to Pakistan and have asked the government to obtain an LOC from the International Monetary Fund.

However, on a positive note, provisional tax collection figures for 7MFY11 stood at Rs 747 billion, up 12 percent. Similarly, foreign reserves as of the week ending January 22 stood at a fresh high
of $17.3billion.

During the outgoing week, all key sectors including banks, oil and gas and telecom ended as under-performers. Autos too remained under pressure post federal cabinet’s approval of increasing the age limit of imported cars up to five years. Moreover, despite healthy results reported by two leading fertilizer makers and rise in DAP prices by Rs 100 per bag announced by Engro, investors chose to book profits in key fertilizer stocks.

Foreigners were net buyers of $6.3 million and individuals were the major net sellers, worth $7.7 million.

Anonymous said...

Riaz you should be the finance minister of Pakistan!

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting analysis of potential risks in Pakistan's stock market by Dilawar Husain of Dawn:

KARACHI, Jan 10: The more-trusted KSE-100 share index is not the right representative of the 641 companies listed on the exchange. Only one stock–the energy sector bellwether, Oil & Gas Development Company (OGDC), can turn the market topsy turvy. With 25 per cent weight in the index and 82 per cent of the free-float in the hands of foreign investors, the direction of the entire market is at the mercy of Franklin Templeton Investments, which is understood to hold the biggest stake of 400 million of the 648 million free float of the energy giant—almost 80 per cent of all shares held by overseas investors.

Dr Joseph Mark Mobius oversees more than 40 emerging market mutual funds, including the Asia Growth Fund that carries OGDC on its books.

If the elderly investment guru (Mobius turned 74 last summer) changes his mind on the energy sector prospects in Asia, which he firmly holds to be exceedingly bright and instead seek an exit, the move would have devastating impact on the KSE.

OGDC stock price has scarcely looked down since it began climb in early 2007, the price of the 10-rupee share now rules at Rs178. That is at least Rs40 higher than the “fair price” tagged by most analysts at the start of 2010.

On Monday, the KSE-100 index pulled back 82.34 points. With OGDC down by Rs2.71, as many as 68 points to the decline were contributed by the share alone. How one mighty stock can overwhelm the rest of the market is clearly demonstrated by the OGDC performance in the outgoing year.

Farhan Mahmood, analyst at brokerage Topline Securities, tracks the energy sector. He observes that due to the huge size and limited float with the local investors, it is relatively easy to push the heavy-weight one way or the other.

“In the 2010 KSE gains of 28 per cent, as much as 12 per cent were added by the OGDC,” says Farhan. The stock continues to cast its spell well into 2011, since 167 points of the 367 points rise in the first six trading sessions are the blessings of the heavyweight energy stock.

Largely corned, OGDC has dropped to 16th place among the most tradable stocks at the KSE with average daily volume of only Rs119 million ($1.4million) during the first six trading sessions of the new year. Out of total $3 billion worth Pakistan equity held by foreigners, 33 per cent was estimated by Topline to be invested in OGDC. The market capitalisation of OGDC on Monday amounted to $9 billion, which made up as much as quarter of aggregate market value of 641 listed companies at Rs3.3 trillion or $89 billion (should be $39 billion?).

Many traders defend the rise of OGDC as a choice scrip due to its healthy yield, larger free-float and above all state-controlled majority holding. But all of it is as long as going is good. Since Beginning of 2010, OGDC has contributed approximately 1300 points to the staggering 3000 points rise in KSE-100 Index, which currently is staggering at the dizzy height of 12,307 points. Is it the time to fear and read the mind of Dr. Mark Mobius? In case the foreigners decided to wander away into other markets, the local bourse should spiral downwards to a steep drop. This time nonetheless, the government has the means to plug the hole and calm the market: It has simply to float another five per cent from its majority stake into the market.

Riaz Haq said...

Swiss ambassador to Pakistan says his naton's investors are ready to invest in Pakistan, according to The Nation newspaper:

He said the country has abundant natural resources and skilled cheap manpower but lacks technology. It is a key market of 155 million people. It is gateway to the Central Asian Republics, South Asia and Gulf countries.
Population of SAFTA alone stands at 1.4 billion people. The market of these countries including Afghanistan can be effectively and conveniently serviced from Pakistan.
In his address the LCCI Senior Vice President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that Swiss economy is one of the most developed economies of the world. It has highly advanced industries such as machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles and precision instruments.
He invited Swiss Businessmen to invest in Pakistan on 100 percent equity basis or in the form of joint ventures with local industries.
Such experiences have been very successful in Pakistan. Bayer, Abbot, Searle, Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Massey Ferguson, Fiat, Nestle etc. are all success stories.
He said that present government has adopted a liberal investment policy and there is no restriction on sending back the principal, dividends, profits and royalties. He urged the Swiss businessmen to come forward and seize upon the unprecedented investment opportunities in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Swedish trade mininster says Swdedes want to expand investments in Pakistan, according to news reports:

Swedish Minister for Trade Ms. Ewa Bjorling said on Wednesday that a good number of Swedish companies were already working in Pakistan and more companies were interested to start business ventures.

She said in a meeting here with Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) for the promotion of two-way trade between Pakistan and Sweden.

She said that she had meetings with Prime Minister of Pakistan and other government officials and discussed the possibilities of more cooperation between the countries.

She said that Tetra Pack has presence in Pakistan for the last several years, and it has set up a new plant in Pakistan. She said that Swedish Trade Council is responsible for trade between both the countries and hoped for great business prospects in the fields of common interest.

Fredrik Fexe, Vice President of Export Radet, a Swedish Trade Council said that Pakistan is large consumer market. He identified telecom, energy, environmental technology, water purification, waste management, automobiles, healthcare, and supply of construction equipment for having trading, investments and joint ventures with the Pakistani companies.

Charlotte Kalin, Vice President of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and Industry informed that three Swedish delegations visited Pakistan last year and current delegation was quite optimistic of good business prospects here.

Mahfooz Elahi, ICCI President, thanked the Trade Minister for bringing a trade delegation for building trade and investment relations with Pakistani companies.

He said that Swedish companies including Panasian, Volvo, Ericson, Sabba, Tatra Pak, Skanska, Wah Nobel, H&M, Ikea and Atlas Packages Limited are operating successfully in Pakistan and said that more Swedish should invest in hydro power projects, dams, tunnels, infrastructure development, food and beverages and dairy and milk products.

Mahfooz Elahi said that perception about good image of Pakistan is needed to be improved to encourage foreign investor to invest in the country.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian stocks were driven by foreign buying in 2010, in spite of net domestuc selling, according to The Hindu:

Mumbai, Dec. 31 Year 2010 saw foreign institutional investors buy Indian stocks for $29 billion net. This is the most that they have pumped into the Indian market in a single year despite the market-indices here being fairly range-bound during this period.

This is also much more than the inflows ($17.6 billion) seen in 2007, when the Sensex was on a gaining streak.

The markets did surge a little in 2009, too, when FIIs were net buyers for a total of $17.45 billion.

Domestic institutions, on the other hand, were net sellers of equities for Rs 19,503 crore in calendar 2010.

FIIs were also net buyers in equities in all months this calendar, except in January and May. August saw the highest net purchases in a single month this year for $13 billion.

On a year-to-date-basis, the Sensex and the Nifty returned 15 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.

It was this relentless buying from the FIIs that pushed up the Indian markets in 2010.

Though the Sensex did reach an all-time high this year, it was quite range-bound. The benchmark has been trading between 17,000 points and 21,000 points right through 2010.


The buying spree on the part of FIIs slowed down in the last month amidst all the scams and the routine FII year-end exits when they need to pay their investors. Their net purchases during December has so far amounted to $0.3 billion only.

“Part of this pullback is because India is perceived to be overvalued vis-a-vis other emerging markets.

“Indian markets have enjoyed around a 30 per cent premium to the other emerging markets. But what has happened this year is that the scams have made FIIs start to question the rich valuations here,” said Mr Saurabh Mukherjea, Head of Equity at Ambit Capital. He added that the next year might see a moderation in FII inflows into the country.

Domestic institutions were net buyers of equity during December and November after being net sellers for five consecutive weeks. Mr Mukherjea said that insurance companies have been seeing inflows trickling in during December and that the fund houses here are also in “slightly better health”.

Mr K. Ramanathan, Chief Investment Officer at ING Investment Management, said that mutual funds faced a lot of redemptions this year and they did not get much incremental net inflows.

“The changes in the regulatory framework too hurt the mutual fund industry. Distributors find it better to sell insurance products as the brokerage there is better than from distribution of mutual funds,” he added.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting assessment of Pakistan's economy in 2H-2010:

...“The country’s exports, money sent by overseas Pakistanis, balance-of-payments position and foreign exchange reserves have reflected an encouraging growth during July-December FY11, showing strong signs of improvement in the economy,” Saad-bin-Naseer, CEO of Pearl Capital, told Central Asia Online January 28. Pakistan’s exports were $10.97 billion, an increase of US $1.88 billion, in the first six months of FY11.

That 21% increase was a very positive sign for the growth of export-oriented industry and the national economy, he said.

In FY11 exports could cross the $22 billion mark for the first time because of a significant increase in the value of Pakistani products on world markets, Naseer added.

“The textile industry had taken the lead by fetching $1.28 billion in additional foreign exchange through exports,” Anisul Haq, secretary of All Pakistan Textile Mills, told Central Asia Online.“The textile industry had taken the lead by fetching $1.28 billion in additional foreign exchange through exports,” Anisul Haq, secretary of All Pakistan Textile Mills, told Central Asia Online by telephone from Lahore. “From July-December FY11 textile exports increased to $6.28 billion” compared to 2010 figures.

Total annual textile exports could exceed $13 billion for the first time, he added. In 2009-10, they totalled $10.5 billion.
“The textile industry had taken the lead by fetching $1.28 billion in additional foreign exchange through exports,” Anisul Haq, secretary of All Pakistan Textile Mills, told Central Asia Online.
Another pillar of the economy is remittances from overseas Pakistanis. The money they sent home increased by $780m in the first half of FY11, to $5.3 billion, Haq said.

“We hope the country would receive $11 billion from overseas Pakistanis in 2010-11 with major increase in inflows from Pakistanis staying in Arab countries and other western countries,” Haq said.

Foreign aid from institutions and countries, not just individuals, helped. The disbursement of $633m in coalition support and the extension that the IMF gave the government for imposing the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) helped improve some of the major economic indicators, Naseer said.

The picture did much to bolster Pakistan’s balance sheet, which has had its ups and downs. Pakistan recorded a current account surplus in the first six months of the fiscal year, which enabled growth in foreign exchange reserves and stabilised the dollar-rupee exchange rate, Pearl Capital’s Naseer added.

In 2009-10, the country incurred a $2.5 billion current account deficit from July-December, but for the same period in 2010-11 it enjoyed a surplus of $26m – a dazzling switch from red ink to black, he said.

The robust performance of exports and remittances enabled Pakistan to accrue a record $17.3 billion in foreign exchange reserves by January 21, he said.

Investor confidence has grown in response to these positive indicators. The stock market capitalisation grew to $36 billion in January 2011 from $32 billion in October 2010, he said, adding that such growth would encourage foreign and local investment.

Islamabad, which still hasn’t imposed the RGST the IMF wants, doesn’t collect enough taxes, Khan said. It levies only about 9% of GDP against the required international standard of a minimum 15% tax-to-GDP ratio, Khan said.

The government must implement tax reform, reduce reliance on borrowing from the IMF and generate its own resources to enhance tax revenues and to bolster economic growth, he added.

Serious efforts to solve chronic gas and power shortages are also imperative, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Karachi stocks rose 777 points on hopes of launch of margin trading system, according to Daily Times:

KARACHI: The Karachi stock market observed a bullish trading week as the expectations of launch of Margin Trading System boosted investors' confidence, analysts said on Saturday.

Analysts said investors went for buying activity as political uncertainty waned out after local petroleum prices were rationalized, while rise in global commodity prices, Brent crude oil above $115 and renewed foreign interest in blue chips also contributed to the bullish trend.

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) 100-share index gained 777 points or 6.9 percent to close at 12,000 points as compared to 11,223.52 points of the previous trading week.

"The expected launch of MTS elevated investor sentiment in the outgoing week as the 100-share index registered a massive gain," said JS Research analyst Rabia Tariq. "Volumes too gathered pace."

The corporate result season nears its conclusion with NBP, BAFL, NCL and PSMC being major scrips announcing their earnings. Moreover, SBP released the fiscal account details, with the deficit widening to 2.9 percent of the gross domestic product in the first half of FY11.

NBP astonished investors by announcing a higher-than-expected cash payout of Rs 7.5 per share and a stock dividend of 25 percent, along with earnings of Rs 17.6 billion (earning per share Rs 13.05) in 2010, flat on yearly basis. Resultantly, the stock rose 20 percent during the week.

Moreover, banking spreads data revealed average industry spreads rising by 32 basis points on yearly basis to 7.57 percent, keeping the sector in limelight as it outperformed the index by 5.0 percent.

NCL too announced its 1H FY11 profit after tax of Rs 518.9 million (EPS Rs 3.21), up 270 percent owing to hefty margins in the spinning segment. Going forward, due to favourable earnings outlook for the company, investors continued to exhibit keen interest in the scrip, reflected by a 16.5 percent rise on weekly basis.

Pakistan's fiscal deficit climbed to 2.9 percent of the GDP during 1H FY11, up from 2.7 percent of the GDP in the corresponding period last year.

Keeping in mind the recent spike in international oil prices and government of Pakistan reversing its decision on POL prices by half, the deficit may be burdened further. Also, International Monetary Fund and the government talks relating to the pending 5th review restarted this week, and are likely to gather momentum in the coming days.

Foreigners concluded to be net buyers of worth $2.9 million.

The market turnover went up by 19.54 percent trading 187.49 million shares as against 156.83 million shares of the previous week.

"Bullish activity was witnessed in scrips across-the-board ahead of the launch of MTS on Saturday by the finance minister," said Arif Habib Investment Ltd Director Ahsan Mehanti.

Riaz Haq said...

KSE-100 is so far flat this year but BSE is in sharp decline as foreign buyers are fleeing.

Whatever happened to the Indian equity market? asks the BBC:

Back in November, the Sensex squeezed past 21,000 for a day before starting a three month, 16% fall.

In the same time, the world's main indices, the FTSE Dow and Nikkei have all gained up to 7%, two of the remaining BRIC countries have fallen no more than 7%, and Russia's RTS Index has gained 26%.

Unsurprisingly foreign funds have been fleeing Indian equities in the last three months.

India is in a pickle and two reasons spring to mind - the stock market was heavily overvalued and the Central Bank has been raising interest rates.

At the end of the year the price of the average share on the Sensex was 23 times its earning power (ie its p/e ratio was 23 x). The Shanghai Index was 18 x, Brazil's Bovespa 14 x and Russia's just 9 x (the Dow's p/e was 13 x). That kind of valuation may be fine if future growth seems assured, but there are signs it may be falling off.
'Leg down'

GDP in real terms expanded at an annual rate of 8.2% in the last quarter - slowing from the 8.9% rate recorded in April to June. Now, this isn't a serious problem and no one is suggesting that the Indian growth story is in serious trouble, but it may be more than just a blip.

Maya Bhandari, senior economist at Lombard Street Research, says that, on a seasonally adjusted basis, growth was pretty much flat. She adds: "I would expect another leg down in the market in the coming few months."

Food inflation has been entrenched for some time, which means the Reserve Bank started putting up interest rates a year ago and has since hiked them seven times.

"In the last 25 months or so, we have had negative real interest rates and the central bank is going to have its work cut out to bring down inflation. And while it may be raising rates, the bank is holding more auctions and lowering the statutory liquidity levels for banks - all of which has inflationary consequences," says Ms Bhandari.

On top of domestic inflation pressures, the Middle East and North Africa crisis sent oil prices belting up above $100 a barrel, adding to the central bank's imperative to keep the upward pressure on rates.
Rate rises?

India is the world's the fourth largest oil importer and imports over 70% of its oil requirements. Oil prices, which will stay high for as long as the Arab crisis lasts, will damage India's economy more than most of its main rivals. At the moment, most economists are pencilling in another half to one percentage point rise in rates.

Oil is also going to hurt government finances. In his March budget, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee estimated that the deficit would fall from an estimated 5.1% of GDP in the year ending March 31, to 4.6% next fiscal year.

But if oil prices keep on going up, the government will have to decide whether to keep on paying out fuel subsidies or deregulate diesel prices.

Keeping the deficit under control would suggest the latter.

Five state elections in the next few months would suggest the former.

London-based India investment consultancy director Deepak Lalwani points out that foreign confidence in India has also not been helped by a slew of scandals, the biggest being allegations that the 2008 sale of second-generation, or 2G, cellular licenses resulted in losses of nearly $36bn in potential revenue for the government.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt on Pakistan from a recent piece by Indian journalist Akar Patel:

Why is Pakistan such a mess? Some would blame Islam, but they’d be wrong. The problem isn’t religion at all. The problem is lack of caste balance. There aren’t enough traders to press for restraint and there are too many peasants. Too many people concerned about national honour, and not enough people concerned about national economy. Put simply: Pakistan has too many Punjabis and not enough Gujaratis. The majority of Pakistanis live in Punjab, but well over 50% of government revenue comes from just one city in Sindh: Karachi. Why? That is where the Gujarati is.

Gujaratis are less than 1% of Pakistan’s population, but they dominate its economy because they are from trading communities. Colgate-Palmolive in Pakistan is run by the Lakhani Memons, the Dawood group is run by Memons from Bantva in Saurashtra (the great Abdus Sattar Edhi is also a Memon from Bantva). The Adamjee group, advertisers on BBC, are from Gujarat’s Jetpur village and founded Muslim Commercial Bank. The Khoja businessman Sadruddin Hashwani owns hotels including Islamabad’s bombed-out Marriott. Khojas founded Habib Bank, whose boards are familiar to Indians who watched cricket on television in the 1980s. The Habibs also manufacture Toyota cars through Indus Motors. Pakistan’s only beer is made by Murree Brewery, owned by a Parsi family, the Bhandaras. Also owned by Parsis is Karachi’s Avari Hotels.

People talk of the difference between Karachi and Lahore. I find that the rational view in Pakistani newspapers is put forward by letter-writers from Karachi. Often they have names like Gheewala, a Sunni Vohra name (same caste as Deoband’s rector from Surat, Ghulam Vastanvi), or Parekh, also a Surat name.

Today capital is fleeing Pakistan because of terrorism and poor governance. To convince investors things will get better, the Pakistani government has appointed as minister for investment a Gujarati, Saleem Mandviwalla. The Mandviwallas own Pakistan’s multiplexes, which now show Bollywood. The place where Gujaratis dominate totally, as they do also in India, is Pakistan’s capital market. Going through the list of members of the Karachi Stock Exchange ( this becomes clear. However, few Pakistanis will understand this because as Muslims they have little knowledge of caste.

The Gujarati tries to hold up the Pakistani economy, but the peasant Punjabi (Jat) runs over his effort with his militant stupidity. Why cannot the Pakistani Punjabi also think like a trader? Simple. He’s not converted from the mercantile castes. There are some Khatris, like Najam Sethi, South Asia’s best editor, but they are frustrated because few other Pakistanis think like them. Are they an intellectual minority? Yes, but that is because they are a minority by caste. One great community of Pakistani Punjabi Khatris is called Chinioti. They are excellent at doing business but in a martial society they are the butt of jokes. I once heard Zia Mohyeddin tell a funny story about the cowardice of Chiniotis and I thought of how differently a Gujarati would look at the same story.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from an ADB report on Pakistan as quoted by Daily Times:

Pakistan’s budget deficit may cross 5.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) due to less than expected revenues, excess expenditure on floods, security and subsidies.
According to the report, severe floods in July-August 2010 have affected fiscal year (FY) 2011’s prospects. Damage was less severe than initially feared, but agriculture and communications were hit hard.

The report says that Pakistan’s public debt (excluding guarantees) as a share of the GDP continued to climb in FY 2010. Government domestic debt amounted to 37.0 percent of the GDP, including commodity debt and liabilities of State Owned Entities (SOEs). External debt rose to 31.9 percent of the GDP, including 0.6% of the GDP in external liabilities of SOEs. Interest payments due on domestic debt represent a heavy burden, accounting for 3.9 percent of the GDP in FY 2010, or 43 percent of the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) revenue. External debt amortisation payments, excluding amounts owed to the IMF, are relatively stable for FY 2010 – FY 2013 at about $3.3 billion. Amounts due for FY 2012 and beyond will be raised substantially by repayment obligations to the IMF. The report maintains that the inflation accelerated after the floods, to 15.7 percent in September, reflecting actual and expected shortages. It remained above 15 percent through December, falling to 14.2 percent in January owing to a government-freeze on oil and electricity prices. It is expected to stay high through FY 2011, for an average annual 16.0 percent, and is then expected to recede in FY 2012 to 13.0 percent (moderation in international food prices is likely to be at least partly offset by electricity price rises).

ADB expects Pakistan’s economy to continue to build on the vital signs of recovery. The good news is that Asia is maintaining a strong growth trajectory, and expanding South to South links presents supplementary opportunities for developing Asia, including Pakistan. Pakistan’s recent entry into Central Asian Regional Cooperation (CAREC) opens up new trade and development corridors ... but it all depends on getting back on course in implementing the fiscal reforms and creating an enabling environment for the industry and job creation for the youth in the years ahead, the ADB country director added.

The total disbursements made to Pakistan by ADB during the calendar year 2010 were $799.18 million that were 117 percent more than the projected amount of $683.28 million.

According to the report, Pakistan’s external reserves reached a record-high of $17.4 billion in early February 2011, amounting to more than five months of imports of goods and services. This build-up essentially reflects IMF releases of $7.1 billion under the Stand-by Arrangement programme, an additional $450 million in emergency support in September 2010, and support from the Coalition Support Fund ($633 million).

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's ministry of finance is projecting 4% growth in fiscal 2011-12, according to The News:

“We are looking at a growth rate of four percent for the next year because of a good services sector and on the hope of better farm output,” said a Finance Ministry official who did not want to be identified.

The figure compares with a 3.7 percent growth forecast by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its Outlook 2011 report released on Wednesday.

The ADB expects persistent energy problems and security issues will continue to check Pakistan’s growth in 2011/12, with surging inflation posing a further major risk.
Last year, the worst-ever floods that hit the country inflicted $10 billion in losses, forcing officials to slash growth estimates in between 2.5-3 percent for the current year, down from an expected 4.5 percent.

The services sector, however, is likely to grow by four percent in the current year to June and there are signs that the farm sector is recovering from the flooding.
Higher cotton, rice and sugar output is expected in the coming year, analysts said.

“We expect that 2011/12 will be much better than this year ... Our own (growth) forecast is close to 4.5 percent,” said Sayem Ali, an economist at the Standard Chartered Bank.

An official at the Planning Commission, which prepares growth targets, also spoke of likely four percent growth next year, but said that was contingent on continuing support from remittances from Pakistanis working abroad and on exports, which have grown by 20-25 percent during the first eight months of the current financial year.

However, the large-scale manufacturing sector, which dominates the overall industry making up 12.2 percent of Pakistan’s GDP, remains a major concern as it faces chronic energy shortages and high interest rates that discourage private sector borrowing.

The sector grew 1.03 percent up to January, against 2.34 percent during the corresponding period last year.

“Energy shortfalls are lowering real growth by at least two percentage points annually,” the ADB said in its report.

Improved prospects for Pakistan’s economy, however, will largely depend on the implementation of measures to address key problems such as inflation, the budget deficit and the need for transparent revenue policies, according to the ADB.

“Increasing prices are on the warning level, not just for Pakistan, but for the whole region,” said Rune Stroem, ADB’s Pakistan country director.

The ADB forecasts inflation in Pakistan will quicken to 16 percent in 2011, the highest in Asia. Revenue generation is another grey area.

The central bank chief said this week that quick steps were needed to broaden the tax base in Pakistan, which has one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world, currently around 10 percent.

The IMF has not yet released the latest tranche of the $11 billion loan due in May last year because of the government’s inability to implement a reformed general sales tax, seen as a key to expanding the tax base.

The fiscal deficit, meanwhile, is expected in between 5.3 percent and 5.5 percent of the GDP in 2010/11, but could be higher if some external flows, including grants, are not received soon.

Stroem said that 5.5 percent deficit estimates seemed unrealistic and there are signals that these might slip even further.

Riaz Haq said...

The killing of Osama bin Laden is a positive event for Pakistan's economy and stock market, according to an Asia based equity strategist's interview with CNBC.

Mark Matthews, equity strategist at Macquarie, said the positive comments from top U.S. officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Pakistan's role against terrorism would eventually lead to the release of much-delayed financial aid for the country. That, in turn, would help the government lower its fiscal deficit and boost the economy.

"For about 5-6 months now, the American's and coalition money have not been released into Pakistan. And Pakistan has a very wide fiscal deficit. It's 6.1 percent of GDP and it is the major issue overhanging their stock market," Matthews added.

The aid package worth $7.5 billion over 5 years has been promoted by Democrat Senator John Kerry and Republican Senator Dick Lugar. But it's been in limbo because of U.S. concerns about corruption in Pakistan.

Once, that's resolved, Matthews expects the stock market to benefit. "There are lots of gems in that country. There are probably more gems there, stock-wise, than any other country in Asia," Matthews told CNBC's Bernie Lo.

The Karachi stock index rallied late last year along with other emerging markets, but so far this year it has dropped 6 percent because of rising fuel prices and a growing budget deficit. According to Macquarie, Karachi's stock index not only offers value, but also many well-run companies.

For investors looking for stocks with volume, Matthews suggests looking at Pakistan Oilfields [PKOL.KA 328.05 -0.47 (-0.14%) ]. He likes this company as it has a daily turnover of $5 million and trades on about 5x earnings, with a 9.5 percent dividend yield.

And for investors who can stomach the illiquidity in the small-cap space, he recommends Askari Bank [ASBK.KA 11.53 0.14 (+1.23%) ].

"If you annualize that (the bank's first-quarter results), that is on 4x PE and their asset quality has held up remarkably well, NPLs are very low and its at a 40 percent discount to book," noted Matthews.

Riaz Haq said...

Pak Suzuki Motors (PSMC) to gain from Punjab govt's yellow cab scheme, according to The News:

KARACHI: Pak Suzuki Motor Company (PSMC) stands to gain from the Yellow Cab Scheme announced by the government of Punjab in its budget for 2011/12, analysts said.

The provincial government has announced that a grant of Rs4.50 billion has been allocated for the scheme, which will partly finance 20,000 vehicles.

Contrary to the yellow cab scheme, the Nawaz Sharif government introduced in 1992/93, this scheme relies on locally-made vehicles.

‘Mehran’ and ‘Bolan’, the two most popular makes of Pak Suzuki, have been short-listed for the scheme.

The analysts said the ultimate beneficiary will be the PSMC, which has been suffering from appreciating yen, relaxation in import policy and production constraints since a tsunami-hit Japan.

Gross profit margin of the company has squeezed to mere two percent in 2010, which was around four percent a year back, they added.

Details of the scheme are yet to be unveiled, but it is expected that the vehicles would be 50 percent financed by the government of Punjab, while the buyer would have to pay the rest.

There are concerns of possible lack of transparency in financing.

Besides, there is a lack of clarity about the time period over which the scheme would be spread.

Furqan Punjani, an analyst at the Topline Research, said that there are possibilities that out of 20,000 only 12,000 to 15,000 units will go in the said scheme and the rest might fall victim to corruption.

An analyst at Arif Habib Research said that it is believed that PSMC’s car volumes would spike by nine percent and 16 percent in CY11E and CY12F.

Consequently, the earning pershare (EPS) of the company would improve by 75 percent and 116 percent in CY11E and CY12F, respectively, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Emerging market specialist investor Mark Mobius sees investment opportunity in Pakistan as China-Pakistan alliance grows, according to Business Recorder:

Pakistan is set to benefit from its strategic importance to China, which is seeking to cement relationships with countries surrounding India, Franklin Templeton's Mark Mobius said. "They are trying to secure their lines of transport and communication," he said.

"That means Pakistan is quite critical." Mobius said he wants to start investing in Libya in the next 12 months as the oil producer emerges from civil war and looks to outside investment. The country of six million people benefits from oil resources, potential for tourism and a large land area, the veteran emerging markets investor told journalists on Monday, adding that it had a very well-run stock market.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an opinion by Taran Marwah of Afund India for July 2011:

All the “reform processes” are on hold in India for the past six months due to scams in various sectors in the Indian economy. Reforms in FDI in Retail, Insurance and Defense etc are in the “cold storage” since January 2011. FDI into India for the period - January to June 2011 is one-ninth than that of China in the same six month period. Plus Indian fiscal deficit is ballooning due to high crude oil prices and Indian Government’s inability to dismantle APM for petroleum products as mentioned above. Such low level of FDI is not a good sign for the Indian Economy. JFI - Indian trade account deficit for last financial year was US $ 105.00 billion. We predict that RBI will further raise interest rates, when its Board meets for monetary policy discussion in the last week of July 2011. We expect a 50 bpts hike in Repo rates by RBI in the last week of July 2011. Analysts feel that the hike will only be to the tune of 25 bpts. Let us wait and see. RBI is willing to sacrifice GDP growth in India at the cost of reining in inflation.

The BSE SENSEX will be bullish if it closes convincingly above 18190. There have been net FII flows into the Indian Equities and Asian Equity Markets in June 2011. If the trend continues in July 2011, then the levels for BSE SENSEX to watch for July 2011 are as follows :
R1 18800 R2 19340 R3 19500
S1 18500 S2 18190 S3 15960 (subject to closing below 18190 for fifteen consecutive days)
We predict that Indian equities will be range bound for the month of July 2011, with a bearish undertone. The levels are as per above figures. But we are bearish for the Indian equity markets for August and September 2011. We will see BSE SENSEX levels lower than 15960 in Q3 2011. By the way Credit Suisse said in its report of June 2011 to its investors that it predicts BSE SENSEX to be around 16000 in Q3 2011 ? We said this or near about (15960) in Q1 2011 ? AOTC – my problem !

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts from a Credit Suisse press release after a recent investment conference in London:

Speaking on the sidelines of Credit Suisse’s first Asean and Pakistan Conference in London last week, Credit Suisse analysts covering Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Pakistan outlined the case for investing in a group of Asian emerging markets that are not as well known as China or India, but which boast compelling growth and valuation stories.

“Southeast Asia offers investors remarkable opportunities,” commented Stephen Hagger, Credit Suisse’s Country Head and Head of Equities for Malaysia. “These opportunities are created by common themes that apply across many of the markets in this family – themes like infrastructure investment, the increasing spending power of domestic consumers and the growth of financial services.”

“We held this pioneering investor conference in London to draw attention to this story, which has real scale and momentum, and to offer our clients insight into allocating capital to the region,” added Mr. Hagger. Nine corporates from Southeast Asia and Pakistan participated in the conference along with around 40 UK-based investors from 28 funds.

Farhan Rizvi, Credit Suisse’s Head of Research for Pakistan, focused on the banking sector in this South Asian country of 187m people, arguing that Pakistan’s market offered some of the most attractive valuations in Asia for banking stocks. Mr. Rizvi said that the banking sector had de-levered since the 2008 crisis, adding that loan-to-deposit ratios had eased to 60% from a 74% high and that Pakistan’s loan-to-GDP ratio of 22% was the lowest in non-Japan Asia. He added that asset quality had improved as a result and that net interest margins should remain positive at 6.7% in 2011 because of expected tightening and static deposit costs. Rising government appetite for fiscal financing, on the other hand, will drive growth in earning assets. “Pakistan is largely ignored by investors, but we believe its banking sector can achieve average annual earnings growth of 18% between 2011 and 2013,” commented Mr. Rizvi, who upgraded Pakistan’s banking stocks to Overweight on June 27. Beyond the banking sector, Mr. Rizvi said there were also attractive valuations and growth potential in the oil and fertilizer sectors.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report of how inflation is hurting Indians and Pakistanis:

Inflation is the price that ordinary Asians are paying for high growth rates.

For the less well-off, who spend their money on food and fuel, the story is even worse. The rise in their household expenses at the moment is usually higher than headline inflation rates.

According to the International Monetary Fund, last year consumer prices rose 13.2% in India, 11.7% in Pakistan and 9.2% in Vietnam. Other Asian nations coped better but the average for developing Asia was 6% - compared to a 1.6% average rise in prices in advanced economies.

The speed at which prices are shooting up means that unless people find ways to save and invest effectively, they in fact get much poorer - even if Asia is getting richer.
The world is jealous of Asia's sky-high growth rates, but for ordinary people the price of success is corrosive inflation which could eat away their savings.

"From outside it looks good," says Manasi Pawar. "We're staying in a big house, paying so much in rent and our kids are going to great schools."

Manasi, a qualified software worker in hi-tech Hyderabad in India, recently became a full-time mother. Her husband also works in the IT industry.

The couple epitomise the emergence of a well-to-do middle class in Asian countries - except there's one significant snag.

"We were actually losing money," says Manasi.

The couple recently woke up to the fact that inflation rates of nearly 9% meant that their savings were actually disappearing in front of their eyes.

"We were sitting on a bunch of cash but we didn't know where to put it, and it's important that we don't let it lie there in the bank - because a bank doesn't give an interest rate that even matches the inflation rate," she says.
The poorest people in society, who spend disproportionately more on food, are hit most savagely of all.

But there is a way to fight back against inflation: to save, and to put some of that money in a part of the economy that rises along with inflation.

For most people, that means investing in shares or equities. "The only way you can make money long-term is through an equity linked product," says Ms Halan.

Money in the bank in India may only earn 3% or 4% - which in fact means you are losing money. But equity linked funds in this exploding economy have risen much faster, sometimes as high as 25%.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from an Indian Financial Express story headlined "More FII money to Pak than to India":

Mumbai: Whether Dalal Street likes it or not, India is now the worst-performing market in the world as dark clouds have started cluttering the economic, investment and political horizons. Worried foreign institutional investors (FIIs), who came to India in droves last year, have been pulling out funds with such alacrity this year that even a much smaller — and significantly more volatile and unstable — market like Pakistan has got more foreign inflows in the last six months.
As per figures of the Securities and Exchange Board of India, FIIs have already pulled out $497 million (including GDRs, primary market, stock markets etc) from India from January to June 22 this year. This has come as a big blow to the market which witnessed an inflow of $29.36 billion in the whole of calendar 2010. FIIs took out Rs 14,387 crore (around $3.2 billion) from the secondary market in 2011, bringing the Sensex down from 21,108 on November 5, 2010 to 17,727.49 on June 23, 2011.

Across the border, Pakistan received a portfolio investment of around $230 million in the last six months. That, too, when the Karachi Stock Exchange, its largest, has a market cap of only $35 billion whereas the Bombay Stock Exchange has a market cap of $1,500 billion.
The latest worry of FIIs is the possibility of tightening in rules governing the tax treaty with Mauritius. If both the governments tighten the regulations governing the treaty, the fund flow through this route will come down drastically. “Funds using this route will go elsewhere. India has got minuscule funds FIIs this year,” said a fund manager with a foreign investment firm.

A large chunk of FII investment in the stock market comes through Mauritius as companies registered there are exempted from tax in India under the treaty. The government had recently indicated about reviewing this tax treaty to tighten registration norms and making the fund flows more transparent.

Riaz Haq said...

As of July 14, 2011, Karachi stocks are up 2% and Indian stocks are down 9.2% for 2011, according to The Economist market review.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a commentary on KSE vs BSE by Ali Wahab published in The Express Tribune:

With fiscal year 2011 ending, Pakistan’s main stock index, the KSE-100 Index showed impressive growth of 28.91%, closing at 12,532.28 points. The other component of capital markets, the debt side, saw Engro Corporation breaking barriers and coming up with a Corporate Bond for retail investors. Buoyed by raising Rs4 billion at 14.5% for a period of three years, Engro again came to the market in the first week of June 2011, targeting another Rs3 billion on the same terms. With the debt market largely run on over the counter trades between financial institutions, the equity markets act as a barometer for any economy.

Whenever I hear fund managers or country pitches from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia or any other emerging market, a key component remains the performance of the equity markets. To substantiate 9% GDP growth of India, Sensex’ growth and its attraction for foreign investors is touted. Just for the record, Sensex has grown by 5.61% in period of July 2010 to June 2011. This is not to say Pakistan is better than India or the other way round, the fact remains each and every market has its own dynamics which allow it to be attractive to investors. If India’s stock market is quite liquid with an average daily volume of 357.98 million shares, our volumes were dismally low at 94.55 million shares per day in the just concluded fiscal. On the other hand the top traded share in Pakistan during the last year has been a company whose share price has ranged between Rs. 8 and 16 (Lotte PTA, whose shares traded 11.06 million per day)! One can imagine the value of trades in Pakistan. The 94.55 million shares per day in FY2011 were 41.16% lower than FY2010. Low volumes entail a risk for investors meaning liquidation of investments may potentially be an issue....

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Attractive as Growth Outweighs Violence, Atlas tells Bloomberg:

---“I really don’t spend any time worrying about law and order,” said Muhammad Abdul Samad, 40, who oversees $77 million in Pakistani stocks and bonds as chief investment officer at Atlas Asset in Karachi. “If you want to make returns, you have to look at the positives: we have a huge market of 180 million people and the economy is still growing.”

Gains in National Refinery Ltd. (NRL), the second-biggest oil processor, and Attock Petroleum Ltd. (APL), a fuel retailer, boosted Atlas’s top fund in the year ended June, Samad said. For the fiscal year starting July, it’s seeking investments in banks, oil and gas, and fertilizer industries, he said.

Pakistan’s benchmark stock index, which trades at 6.4 times estimated earnings, the lowest in Asia, has fallen 9 percent since the end of June as escalating violence hurt business confidence. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s government aims to boost economic growth to 4.2 percent in the year to June 30, 2012, from 2.4 percent in the previous 12 months.
“Selling from foreign portfolio investors is affecting the local market,” Samad said.

Last year, global funds bought $344 million worth of Pakistani stocks compared with net sales of $65 million, according to central bank data. More than 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed in terrorist attacks since 2006 as Taliban militants retaliate against military offensives in the northwest, according to the government.

Samad’s 650 million rupee ($7.5 million) Atlas Stock Market Fund outperformed all Pakistan’s 30 equity funds, according to Invest Capital Markets Ltd. The fund returned 40 percent in the 12 months ended June 30 and beat the 29 percent return of the benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index.

His top five holdings as of June 30 were Nishat Mills Ltd., MCB Bank Ltd., Pakistan Oilfields Ltd., United Bank Ltd. and Allied Bank Ltd.

“Banks are going to post attractive earnings because if interest rates come down, they will lend more to the private sector and if they don’t, they will invest in high-yielding government securities,” said Samad, adding that the three banks are among his top picks this fiscal year. “Banks are in a comfortable position either way.”

Pakistan’s central bank unexpectedly cut the benchmark interest rate to 13.5 percent on July 30, after holding it at 14 percent, one of the world’s highest, for four straight reviews.

In the oil and gas sector, Samad likes Pakistan Oilfields, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd., and Attock Petroleum. Pakistan, which imports 80 percent of its fuel needs, is increasing production to reduce reliance on shipments from overseas. He also favors Fauji Fertilizer Ltd., the biggest urea maker, and Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Ltd. (FFBL), a fertilizer producer.
“Active fund management, timely investment and divestment, as well as the performance of some stocks like Attock Petroleum were main reasons for Atlas’s outperformance,” said Mazhar Sabir, an analyst at Invest Capital Markets in Karachi.

Samad said Atlas may introduce a government bond fund this year targeting investments of three to five years and is considering a dividend-yield equity fund and a sector-specific stock fund next year.

“In the short run, law and order problems definitely hurt investors,” Samad said. “But in the long run, there’s no impact. And we’re here for the long run.”

Riaz Haq said...

Companies like Pakistan Cables continue to increase profits in spite of all the crises. Here's a Business Recorder report:

Profitability Despite economic slowdown due to a host of reasons including political uncertainty, high inflation, acute energy shortage, currency depreciation and high interest rates, the Company achieved sales of Rs 3.4 billion in FY09, which is 12 percent lower than FY08 sales of Rs 3.8 billion.

The decline in sale compared to last year was due to lower prices of the Company's products, a sharp decline in copper prices during the first half of the financial year, and reduction in demand as a result of the overall economic situation in Pakistan.

The sales increased by 13 percent in the FY10, reaching Rs 3.8 billion.

This was possible due to increase in the price of the product as well as better sales volume.

During FY11, in addition to the economic slowdown and poor law-and-order situation, the year had to face the floods.

Despite this, Pakistan Cables was able to increase its sales by 7.8 percent from last year's figures and touched Rs 4.1 billion.

Even with lower sales in the FY09, gross profit increased by 43.7 percent from FY08 values, reaching Rs 532 million.

Better sales' mix, reduction in copper prices, productivity improvement and cost savings initiatives are the main reasons for this outcome.

In FY10, the gross profit figure fell to Rs 412.3 million, due to the expenses that could not be passed on to the customers.

These include devaluation of rupee against the dollar (which increased the cost of inputs and copper prices) and taking orders at lower margins due to market competition.

Improvement in productivity, better sales' mix, improved margins and operational efficiencies contributed to the rise in the gross profit for the FY11, which amounted to Rs 519.6 million.

The dedication of the Company's management in improving the efficiencies, controlling costs and making decisions for the optimum product mix resulted in the Company's Profit before Income Tax soaring to Rs 101.8 million in FY09 as compared to Rs 53.6 million in the previous year.

This amount stood at Rs 146.7 million in FY11.

In FY09, normalisation of the tax expenses in the year affected the profit after tax figure, which fell from Rs 65.4 million in FY08 to Rs 63.9 million in FY09.

The net profit value continued to fall despite lower interest expenses, and in FY10, the figure touched Rs 45.5 million.

At the end of FY11, the profit after tax amounted to Rs 85.7 million, an increase of 88 percent from last year.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's key share index KSE-100 dropped about 5% in 2011, significantly less than most the emerging markets around the world. Mumbai's Sensex, by contrast, lost about 25% of its value, putting it among the worst performing markets in the world.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani stocks hit 6.5 months high, reports Reuters:

A rally in Pakistani banking shares helped lift the bourse to end on a six-and-a-half month high on Tuesday as foreign investors snapped up local stocks on the back of expected strong corporate results, dealers said.

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index gained more than one percent for a second straight day, closing up 1.22 percent or 147.70 points, at 12,284.62 points, its highest close since July 26, 2011.

Volume fell to 162.11 million shares, compared with 196.3 million traded on Monday.

"The bullish trend continued on renewed foreign investment led by banking stocks in the earnings announcement session at KSE," said Ahsan Mehanti, director at Arif Habib Corp Ltd.

Foreign investors bought shares worth a net $3.47 million on Monday. Data for Tuesday will be released later in the day.

Winners on the KSE included Bank Alfalah, which closed 2 percent higher at 12.75 rupees, and National Bank of Pakistan, which rose 2.85 percent to 46.58 rupees.

In the currency market, the rupee ended weaker at 90.62/67 to the dollar, compared with Monday's close of 90.50/56 due to increased import payments, particularly oil.

Dealers said they were also cautious after the International Monetary Fund advised Pakistan to take immediate steps to tackle growing budget pressures and raise interest rates to contain inflation.

The IMF projected a widening of Pakistan's fiscal deficit in the 2011/12 fiscal year to 7 percent of gross domestic product, compared with the government's revised budget target of 4.7 percent.

The rupee touched a record low of 91.28 to the dollar on Jan. 9, pressured by worries about higher payments for oil imports and the country's overall economic health, especially a weakening current account.

The current account recorded a provisional deficit of $2.154 billion in the first six months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with a surplus of $8 million in the same period last year, according to data from the State Bank of Pakistan.

The deficit is likely to widen further in coming months because of debt repayments and a lack of external aid.

In the money market, overnight rates ended lower at between 11.25 percent and 11.75 percent, compared with Monday's close of 11.90 percent after the central bank bought back government paper worth 37 billion rupees ($408.70 million).

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Express Tribune on MSCI status of Pakistan:


MSCI, a leading provider of investment decision support tools worldwide, has maintained status quo in its February 2012 review with Pakistan stock market’s weight remaining intact.

According to the results of the Quarterly Index Review announced by MSCI, two companies – Sacombank (Vietnam) and Ceylon Tobacco Co (Sri Lanka) – will be added to the MSCI Frontier Market Index but there will be no deletion.

For Pakistan, which is among 25 countries of the Frontier Market Index, no change was made in the existing 13 companies.

In May 2009, Pakistan was included in the Frontier Market. Since then, MSCI has been reviewing Pakistan’s situation due to limited number of sizable securities.

In 2011, though Pakistan posted a negative return of 17%, it outperformed all the Frontier Markets in Asia. Sri Lanka declined by 29%, Vietnam posted a negative return of 40% while Bangladesh lagged behind to post a negative return of 44%.

“While the next MSCI review is due in May, the annual review in June could be crucial. A near-term positive that Pakistan can hope for is an upgrade of UAE and Qatar to Emerging Markets as it will lead to 130-basis-point weightage gains,” says KASB Securities in a research note.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on IFI holdings of Pakistani shares:

Foreigners remained aggressive in Pakistan’s oil and gas sector as they continued to own more than 500 million shares ($950 million) in Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) and approximately 120 million shares ($250 million) of Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (PPL), which represent 83 percent and 45 percent of free float of OGDC and PPL, respectively. This is primarily due to higher oil prices and decent volumetric growth. Similarly, their shareholding in Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Pakistan Oilfields (POL) is expected to remain almost the same. Thus out of $2.7 billion worth of stocks that foreigners hold (as of March to December 2011), approximately 50 percent of the foreign shareholding is only concentrated in oil sector, including which OGDC alone contributes 35 percent.
Interestingly, foreigners which own every third Pakistani share of free-float, have been net buyers of $11 million so far in CY2012 primarily due to record inflows in regional markets amid improved risk appetite and better global economic data. Last year due to depressed global markets, foreign participants offloaded their positions in Pakistan liquidating $123 million net in 2011 contrary to net buying of $526 million in 2010. However, thanks to continued interest in Pakistan market, foreigners now hold shares valuing $2.7 billion as of March 30, 2012 (28 percent of free float). Their peak holding was $5.1 billion (27 percent of free float) in April 2008 and lowest was $1 billion (17 percent of free float) in March 2009.
Estimated holdings of foreigners in Pakistan key stocks are OGDC $950 million, MCB $250 million, PPL $250 million, UBL $135 million, Lucky Cement $135 million, FFC $125 million, Unilever $100 million, POL $75 million, Hubco $65 million, NBP $50 million, Engro $35 million, Nestle $35 million, PSO $25 million and DGK Cement $20 million.\04\14\story_14-4-2012_pg5_17

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excepts of an interview of Elliot Theorist Mark Galasiewski who's bullish on Pakistan:

To answer your question, there are various ways to make long-term investment decisions. For example, Warren Buffett has shown that picking individual stocks can provide good returns over time. But it's a very labor-intensive and time-consuming process, to research companies thoroughly enough to have the kind of conviction that he does. And his “buy and hold” strategy means that he suffers significant drawdowns in his portfolio at times -- like during the 2007-2009 crash.

Elliott wave analysis gives you the opportunity to make long-term bets with a similar conviction -- but with a fraction of the elbow grease. Instead of pouring over hundreds of quarterly reports and legal documents, you look for Elliott wave patterns in the charts of market indexes. Those patterns reflect investors' collective bias, bullish or bearish. (I won't go into details of why this is so; our Club EWI has tons of free reports explaining the mechanics of the Elliott Wave Principle.)

So, knowing what part of the Elliott wave pattern your market is in, you know how the pattern should progress from there, ideally. And that gives you a probabilistic forecast for the trend. It doesn't work 100% of the time (what does), but our subscribers remember more than one successful forecast we've made using Elliott waves.

For example, on March 23, 2009 -- at the time when almost no one felt bullish -- we issued a special report to our subscribers forecasting a multi-year bull market in Indian stocks. Two weeks later, we identified three more markets in the region -- Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia -- that we believed were also likely to enjoy an "Indian Ocean Renaissance."

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia have all since generated some of the best returns among global stock markets. Without knowledge of the Elliott Wave Principle, it would have been difficult to forecast the boom -- especially given the dismal news events at the time. Do you remember the headlines in early 2009?

The world was engulfed by the global financial crisis, and most people believed the worst was still ahead. The currencies of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia had collapsed. Pakistan and India were on the brink of conflict over the Mumbai terrorist attacks of late 2008. A civil war was still raging in Sri Lanka. Who would turn bullish on stock under those "fundamental" conditions? We did, and only because Elliott wave patterns in the price charts of those four markets told us to "buy."

And by the way, the terrible conditions in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka mostly reversed along with the market rally over the next year.
The Wave Principle is how the market works. Financial markets are non-rational and counter-intuitive. Investing according to conventional assumptions eventually leads to financial ruin, since the market too often does the opposite of what most people expect.

Even thinking contrarily is insufficient, because sometimes it’s necessary to run with the herd. But Elliott wave analysis helps you to determine which psychological stance is most appropriate at any given time. Often, the news at the time would be suggesting you do the opposite.,-Pakistan,-Sri-Lanka,-Indonesia-How-Elliott-Wave-Analysis-Turned-BULLISH-When-Few-Dared.-Part-.aspx

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR report on changes to KSE-30 index:

The Karachi Stock Exchange has carried out the exercise of re-composition of KSE-30 Index for the review period from January 1 to June 30.

The re-composition has been carried out on the basis of the pre-requisites/criteria of selection of companies and as a result thereof, three companies would be affected due to re-composition, a KSE notice issued here on Wednesday said.

The three incoming companies are Fatima Fertilizer Company Limited, Engro Foods Limited and Jahangir Siddiqui and Company while the three outgoing companies are ICI Pakistan Limited, Lotte Pakistan PTA Limited and Nestle Pakistan Limited.

The recomposed KSE-30 Index, based on the prices of June 30, will be implemented with effect from August 15.

After re-composition, the KSE-30 Index companies include Fauji Fertilizer Company Limited, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited, Pakistan Oilfields Limited, MCB Bank Limited, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Engro Corporation Limited, National Bank of Pakistan, Lucky Cement Limited, Pakistan State Oil Company Limited, The Hub Power Company Limited, Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Limited, DG Khan Cement Company Limited, Attock Refinery Limited, United Bank Limited, Nishat Mills Limited, Fatima Fertilizer Company Limited, Engro Foods Limited, Arif Habib Corporation Limited, Habib Bank Limited, Bank Al Falah Limited, Bank Al Habib Limited, Attock Petroleum Limited, National Refinery Limited, Jahangir Siddiqui and Company Limited, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited, Unilever Pakistan Limited, Kot Addu Power Company Limited, Millat Tractors Limited, Adamjee Insurance Company Limited and Dawood Hercules Corporation Limited.