The selloff that triggered the worst start for emerging-market stocks in four years is approaching the end as valuations begin to look attractive, Templeton Emerging Markets Group’s Mark Mobius said.
“We are nearing the point where people are beginning to say ‘hey, it looks pretty good now in terms of valuations,’” Mobius, who oversees more than $50 billion in developing-nation assets as an executive chairman at Templeton, said in an interview on Bloomberg Radio today. “We are probably nearing the end of this big rush out of emerging markets.”
The comments mark a shift in sentiment for Mobius, 77, who said on Feb. 7 that developing nations could “expect a lot more selling.” The MSCI Emerging Markets Index climbed 0.9 percent to a two-week high at 4 p.m. in London, trimming this year’s drop to 5.8 percent. The selloff dragged the index’s valuation to less than 9 times projected 12-month earnings on Feb. 4, the cheapest since August and compared with a multiple of 14 for the MSCI World Index of developed-country equities.
Mobius joins Aberdeen Asset Management Ltd. and Coutts & Co. in touting developing-country assets after a rout last month. A Bloomberg gauge tracking 20 emerging-market currencies has risen 0.9 percent in February after suffering a 3 percent slump in January, the worst start to a year since 2009.
The measure has increased on all but one day since its relative-strength index fell to 19 on Feb. 3, near an eight-month low and below the threshold of 30 that indicates to some technical analysts that a security is poised to reverse.
Clients of Coutts, the wealth management unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, are boosting holdings in Asian and Russian assets, Gary Dugan, the chief investment officer in Asia and the Middle East, said Feb. 9. Devan Kaloo, the London-based head of global emerging markets at Aberdeen, recommended Turkish banks for “brave” investors in a Feb. 5 interview.
“It’s an opportunity for people like us,” who are active managers and can take advantage of market volatility, Mobius said today. There is “tremendous variation in emerging markets, which is why it’s so important to differentiate,” he said.
The Turkish lira has recovered since the central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates in a midnight decision on Jan. 29 to stop the currency’s freefall, while Argentina’s peso is stabilizing after Argentina devalued it last month by the most in 12 years.
The move today by Kazakhstan’s central bank to depreciate the tenge by the most since 2009 is making mining companies in the central Asian nation look attractive, Mobius said. The currency slid 16 percent to 184.52 per dollar. Shares of Kazakhmys Plc (KAZ), the nation’s largest copper miner, rallied 31 percent today in Almaty.
“Mining companies look very good because their costs are in local currency and their income is in dollars,” Mobius said.
Frontier-market assets look appealing relative to their more-developed peers since they are less correlated with developments in global markets, he said. The MSCI Frontier Market Index has risen 2.1 percent this year after outperforming the emerging gauge in 2013. The measure trades at 11 times forward earnings, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
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