Clearing up uncertainty




KUALA LUMPUR: With the dissolution of Parliament having been announced and confirmed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, paving the way for the much-anticipated 15th General Election (GE15), all eyes are now on the FBM KLCI.

It is understandable that investors, both foreign and local alike, are uncertain as to how the market would perform this short working week, underlined by the fact that the Prime Minister was granted an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong less than 48 hours after the pro-expansionary Budget 2023 was tabled.

Hence, some analysts see the dissolution announcement yesterday as a way to clear up some lingering political doubts of investors, going forward.

Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd head of equity sales Vincent Lau expects some knee-jerk reaction from the market in the short term, perhaps this week, but said the dissolution of Parliament yesterday was good to remove uncertainty.

“This (the dissolution) is something that has to arrive sooner or later. Whichever government being voted in at GE15 will obviously have a stronger mandate from the people.

“Besides, as we know from the tabling of the budget last Friday, the domestic numbers are holding up well, with the government expecting a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.5% to 7% for 2022,” Lau told StarBiz. To refresh the memory on a similar close follow-up of a Parliament dissolution after a budget tabling, one would need to go all the way back to 1999, when the Parliament of the-then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was dissolved on Nov 11, 1999, less than two weeks after the 2000 budget was unveiled on Oct 29.

The FBM KLCI experienced a 2.4% drop in the duration between the budget and the dissolution of Parliament then.

In all the other election cycles since, Parliament was dissolved between five and six months after the budget, a duration that could have dampened any political uncertainty investors may have had, resulting in the FBM KLCI registering growths between Budget Day and the day when Parliament was dissolved, even during the 2008 cycle when the sub-prime crisis was at hand.

Analysts are “neutral” to “positive” on the budget and agree that there could be some selling pressure on equities this week. TA Research, in its post-budget research note, said the aggressive monetary tightening policy of the US Federal Reserve and the uncertainties surrounding the dissolution matter have affected market sentiment and bucked the rallying trend that markets usually showed leading up to the budget.

However, it also noted that this could represent an opportunity to look at undervalued stocks in sectors such as banks, construction, oil and gas, plantation, property and transportation.

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