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KUALA LUMPUR: Corporate earnings for the recent second quarter have overall been within expectations, but they may progressively slow in the second half of the year (2H22).
Thus far, according to analysts, it has been a mixed bag in the second quarter, with some companies within the same sector reporting varied performances namely property, food and beverage (F&B), manufacturing and plantation.
Rakuten Trade head of research Kenny Yee told StarBiz that banks, plantation firms and real estate investment trusts have been the “obvious” winners in the second quarter, while the underperformers have mainly been in the manufacturing sector that has been unable to cope with rising costs.
He cautioned that rising material costs would be the key challenge for companies in 2H22. “It has been a mixed bag but overall, earnings thus far are within expectations,” said Yee.
On a positive note, UOB Kay Hian Research head of research Vincent Khoo said stocks under its coverage posted a “slightly” positive trend quarter-on-quarter, with a lower percentage reporting disappointing earnings and a higher percentage surpassing expectations.
“Positive earnings surprises were mostly linked to the consumers sector that saw robust demand amid higher average selling prices (ASPs).,
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“We are also expecting the banking sector to outperform due to lower-than-expected provisions leading to reduced net credit cost.
“Sector-wise, disappointments were mostly related to the glove sector due to soft ASPs and property sector that saw labour shortage issues and material supply chain disruption,” he added.
However, Khoo foresees corporate earnings momentum to slow in 2H22 due to domestic consumption slowdown from the tapering of the Employees Provident Fund’s special withdrawal scheme as well as a cut in consumption by businesses and consumers in view of the high inflation and bearish global economy.
“Sector-wise, we may see corporate earnings slowdown in the domestic-oriented and cyclical businesses, for example, properties and autos,” he said.
Another key drag to the earnings in 2H22 would be the cumulative cost inflation eating into the profit margins of businesses, added Khoo.
In addition to slowing corporate earnings growth, which also reflects slowing external demand, he said other corporate headwinds anticipated in 2H22 include a rising overnight policy rate and a globally tightening financial liquidity.
But he pointed out there are economic bright spots for manufacturers that would benefit from the successful recruitment and replenishment of foreign workers, which raises capacity utilisation, productivity and profit margins.
Meanwhile, he expects the ringgit to moderately depreciate against the greenback in 2H22 and through 2023, mainly reflecting the aggressive rate hikes by the United States throughout 2023.