Asia equities

How worried should you be when the US Federal Reserve goes ahead with its first interest rate hike? After all, following years of close to zero policy rates and three rounds of quantitative easing, this will be a significant change in policy.

Financial markets do not appear too concerned. One could even say that they are being complacent. Nevertheless, the usual commentators are once again stating that Fed hikes will bring the end of the world and of emerging markets.

So who is right, the complacent markets or the doomsayers? We think neither. Read more

“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time”, US Army officer and Vietnam veteran Creighton Abrams once said.

In his new book, The Rise of the New East, Ben Simpfendorfer does just that. His elephant is “The East”, the group of almost 50 emerging markets ranging from Turkey to China that is home to well over half of the world population.

Simpfendorfer gives his topic a thorough treatment. While his insights seem logical and intuitive, taken together they give an impressive oversight of into key trends shaping the region. beyondbrics noted five insights that particularly stood out. Read more

By Andrew Lloyd of Ellis Munro

Asia is often considered a region where investors should focus the “growth” part of their portfolios. One attraction cited is the rise of the middle class and its impact on demand for consumer goods and services, and on the supply chain feeding the system. But a narrow focus on consumer-led growth in Asia overshadows the opportunities to find solid businesses in the region at bargain valuations. Read more

Once when Japan sneezed the rest of Asia caught pneumonia. But with the rise of China and the rest, Japan no longer looms so large in the economies of other Asian countries.

The recent gyrations of the Japanese stock market seem to prove the point. The surge in the Nikkei since last autumn and its recent fall have had limited impact on other stock exchanges in the region. On Thursday, with the Nikkei down 5.1 per cent, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index slipped only 0.5 per cent. Read more

The top emerging stock markets over the past two years were the Philippines and Thailand. Denise Law, director of financial research at the FT’s newly launched Asean Confidential service, discusses with Long View columnist John Authers what’s driving southeast Asian stocks and what risks and opportunities lie ahead.

By any comparison, 2012 was a bumper year for new issues on the Thai stock market. Companies and property funds listing on Thailand’s bourse raised $1.8bn – the most since 2002.

With stock prices strong, investors can expect a lot more in 2013 – the Stock Exchange of Thailand forecasts that the market capitalisation of new listings will climb from Bt116bn ($4.03bn) in 2012 to Bt120bn ($4.2bn) Read more

Benigno Aquino, president of the Philippines, shared his father’s words of warning earlier this week in a speech marking the 20th anniversary of the Manila exchange: “Unless you’re a big boy, don’t play in the stock market. You will only get burned.”

Clearly lots of investors in the country have chosen to ignore Aquino Sr’s advice: on Tuesday the Philippines equity index closed at a record high – its 7th in a row, and its 34th this year. But, after a romping run, some analysts are getting edgy. Read more

A $3bn equity issue is a big achievement for any company in the current financial enviroment. So it’s a tribute to PTT Exploration & Production, Thailand’s biggest oil and gas explorer, that the rights issue announced on Friday has been welcomed in the markets, with the shares rising 3.6 per cent. Read more

South Korea’s stock market may be too small for the country’s increasingly globalised equity investors. Local brokerages say an increasing number of Koreans are turning their attention to foreign equities, especially technology and banking giants in the US. They seek higher returns while the local stock market remains sluggish. Read more

By Benjamin Yeo of Barclays

The performance of Asian equity markets has been fairly respectable this year, in view of the many headwinds investors have experienced. Asia delivered double-digit returns in both local currency and US dollar terms, based on the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index. However, the headline return masks the divergence in terms of regional and country performance – with a big north-south divide. Read more

Exchange Traded Funds are on the march in Asia and a new listing this week in Hong Kong highlights two of the main trends investors can expect to see.

Lippo Limited, the Hong Kong investment company of Indonesia’s Riady family-run Lippo Group, listed the first Hong Kong ETF focused on solely in property in greater China – the Lippo Select HK & Mainland Property ETF. Read more

If you are a banker with a thin book of business in equity capital markets – which probably means most of you – try moving to Kuala Lumpur.

Bankers in KL are enjoying a boom of breathtaking proportions. About $5.5bn of money has been raised in two big ticket initial public offerings in the last three weeks alone: Felda, the Malaysian palm oil company, defied global market gloom with a $3.2bn IPO; and IHH Healthcare was priced on Tuesday at the upper end of its indicative range. Read more

Flows into Asian equities, ex-Japan, have been strong this year and reversed net outflows for all of 2011. Lex’s Vincent Boland and Julia Grindell look at what’s behind the trend and any signs of overheating.