JPMorgan turns bullish on UK stocks for first time since Brexit vote

JPMorgan turns bullish on UK stocks for first time since Brexit vote

LONDON — JPMorgan has upgraded U.Okay. stocks to “overweight,” ending years of warning on British fairness markets which the financial institution mentioned are actually buying and selling at a “record discount.”

The Wall Road large had held a longstanding cautious name on U.Okay. equities since the Brexit referendum in 2016, earlier than shifting to “neutral” in July 2020 after a very dire spell for U.Okay. stocks and after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

With U.Okay. equities having delivered a extra range-bound efficiency in opposition to their transatlantic and European friends over the previous 12 months, nonetheless, JPMorgan on Monday upped them to obese in each a European and world context.

Because the Brexit referendum, U.Okay. equities have lagged the U.S. by a cumulative 50% and the euro zone by 24%, JPMorgan Head of International and European Fairness Technique Mislav Matejka highlighted in a analysis observe.

JPMorgan’s aggregated knowledge confirmed that the U.Okay. has opened up a “record discount” versus different areas, each on a price-to-earnings and a price-to-book foundation. The previous helps decide the market worth of an organization’s inventory relative to its monetary outcomes, whereas the latter is relative to the guide worth of the corporate’s fairness.

The low cost holds even when worth sectors — these which typically commerce at a reduction relative to their monetary fundamentals — are taken out.

“Within the U.K., we held a longstanding preference for FTSE 250 vs FTSE 100, and for
domestic vs exporters. We now think FTSE 100 could perform better,” Matejka mentioned.

Matejka’s crew is funding the improve by slicing its publicity to Japan, and picked 25 U.Okay. stocks to greatest capitalize on the catch-up commerce. These embody such high-profile names as BP, Barclays, Jupiter Fund Administration and Vodafone.

Diverging fortunes

JPMorgan’s new obese place within the U.Okay. follows a long-held view for European fairness analysts at British rival Barclays, who’re additionally obese the big cap FTSE 100 for its export-heavy composition, however underweight the extra domestically-weighted FTSE 250.

This diminishing religion in home small-cap stocks was echoed on Tuesday by Credit score Suisse, which lowered U.Okay. small caps to underweight whereas boosting their U.S. friends to obese.

“U.K. small caps are much more cyclical and more domestic than large caps, yet U.K. small caps have barely reacted to the decline in U.K. PMIs (purchasing managers’ index), which could well have further to go,” Credit score Suisse strategists mentioned in a analysis observe, including that British small caps are pricing in a PMI of 62, versus 57 presently.

“The UK faces a range of idiosyncratic supply-side challenges with a more hawkish central bank, which could lead to GDP forecasts for next year coming under more downward pressure than in other regions.”

Credit score Suisse highlighted that British small caps usually carry out badly when sterling falls, and presently appear to be discounting a decline in credit score spreads, which strategists see as “unlikely.”

“Despite these risks, small caps continue to trade at a very large valuation premium to large caps vs their history,” they added.

Steve Brice, chief funding officer at Customary Chartered, informed CNBC final week that the financial institution’s chief concern in regards to the U.Okay. fairness market was whether or not the Financial institution of England would “overreact” to persistently excessive inflation, which it now expects to prime out at 5%.

The central financial institution final week held off on an anticipated hike to rates of interest, opting to attend and assess labor market knowledge after the tip of the U.Okay.’s furlough scheme. Nonetheless, markets broadly anticipate an imminent hike.

“Obviously there is supply bottlenecks globally, but they are being extenuated in the U.K. from Brexit as well, so it is not a preferred market of ours from an equity market perspective,” Brice mentioned.

“If anything, it is our least favorite market when we look around the world today, because of those policy risks.”

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