Manulife AM: Election noise won't derail foreign investors' interest in equity market

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 7): Foreign investors will look past the political noise and uncertainties in the run-up to the 14th general election (GE14) when making investment decisions, said Manulife Asset Management.

"Most fund managers will take the view that domestic politics doesn't really determine their longer-term view over the Asian markets," said Geoff Lewis, senior strategist (Asia) with Manulife's Capital Markets & Strategy team.

"It's what's happening in the domestic companies, the profit they're making that really matters," Lewis told the media during a market outlook briefing.

In the long run, however, bad politics will lead to bad economic performance, he warned, stressing the importance of having good policies and good governance.

"Short-term political upsets don't really bother foreign investors that much," he added.

Tock Chin Hui, head of total solutions & equities investment with Manulife Asset Management Services Bhd, however said that the political environment prior to elections could bring about some short-term volatility in the equity market.

"There will be (impact). There are always people reacting to this (election news). If you buy into fundamentals, if you buy into this mega-trend, these are opportunities if valuation comes down," Tock said.

The current term of Parliament expires on June 24, and GE14 must be held within 60 days after that date.