Be the first to like this
Be cautious into 3Q. 1Q09 results of the six banking stocks we cover
were generally in line, with combined net profit down 2.1% QoQ and
13.1% YoY. However, the weak 1Q09 GDP suggests growing stress in
system loans over the coming months. We remain cautious on banks’
profits, especially from 3Q09. Underweight the sector.
1Q down a sharp 13.1% YoY. Other than AMMB’s positive surprise,
results were generally in-line. The combined net profit of our banking
universe was flattish QoQ but fell a sharp 13.1% YoY on lower treasury
and FX income and higher loan loss provisions. Net interest income
expanded, but the weak equity market continued to affect brokerage
income, which contracted for the 5th to 6th consecutive quarter.
Some signs of stress. Domestic loans continued growing at most
banks. QoQ loan growth at the major banks (Maybank, CIMB Bank and
Public Bank) outpaced system growth. Some loan segments, however,
have begun showing stress. Domestic NPL saw upticks in the
consumer (mortgage, autos) and working capital segments. Net NPL
ratios continued to trend down due to the expanded loans base.
Earnings to contract. There were no major revisions in our individual
earnings forecasts except for AMMB (FY09: +16%, FY10: +7%). Our
combined net profit forecast was upgraded by a marginal 0.1% for 2009
and 0.7% for 2010. We expect sector earnings to contract 9.9% in
2009, before recovering to 6.8% growth in 2010 (previously -10.1%,
+6.1% respectively). This excludes further impairment in the value of
long-term investments, merger costs and other one-offs.
Asset quality concerns. 1Q09 GDP (-6.2% YoY, -7.7% QoQ) should
be the weakest, suggesting that the worst may be over. However, we
expect economic recovery to be slow, with real GDP to return to the
3Q08 high only in 4Q10. There is a 3-6 month interval from GDP trough
to NPL peak. Hence, banks are set to report weaker profits on rising
NPLs and higher credit charges from 3Q09.
Mainly Sells. Against regional peers, the larger Malaysian banks are
pricey. The current liquidity driven market has pushed valuations up but
prospects for a strong economic recovery stay hazy. Sell into strength.