Malaysia stocks break four years of earnings decline, Citi says

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SINGAPORE (March 9): Companies had aggregate EPS growth of 5% in 2017, the first year of growth since 2012, Citi analysts led by Patrick Yau write in note Thursday.

* Earnings estimates after 4Q grew by 11% vs -10% in 3Q, -43% in 2Q

** Beats balanced misses, while impairments weighed

* Raises KLCI target to 1,960 from 1,840

* With Permodalan Nasional related restructuring done, investors may begin evaluating Khazanah related firms for similar restructuring gains

* Elections may not aid construction stocks as correlation between polls and performance of the contractors is lower

* Gamuda replaces IJM in top picks

* Other picks include DRB-Hicom, Genting Malaysia, Genting Plantations, Malaysia Airports, Public Bank, Tenaga Nasional