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SET to rebound if violence avoided: Asset Plus

Asset Plus Fund Management Co (ASP) expects its assets under management (AUM) to grow by 25 per cent this year and believes that the Stock Exchange of Thailand has bottomed out and will not go lower than 1,200 points if political violence can be prevented.

As of last month, Asset Plus's AUM amounted to Bt27.9 billion, and are expected to reach Bt35 billion this year through the success of its foreign investment fund ASP-STARS and the launch of a private equity fund.

"ASP aims to be a one-stop wealth-management solution or a wealth planner that can provide all the answers for various investment problems including domestic and foreign stocks, bonds and various other assets," managing director Ratch Sodsatit said.

"Since inception, our total AUM have grown from Bt4.2 billion in 2004 to Bt27.9 billion as of December, representing a compound annual growth rate of 20.9 per cent.

Growth driver

"Private funds have been fuelling our growth with CAGR of 42.8 per cent and our investment in foreign stocks under the ASP-STARS mutual-fund group is our star player. Five out of six STARS series funds outperformed and closed higher than benchmarks last year," he said. In the first two quarters of this year, ASP will concentrate on investment in overseas stocks in developed markets, especially in Europe, Japan and the United States.

"We expect the price of Thai stocks in the first two quarters of 2014 to come under pressure, with a predicted low return rate due to the unclear political situation," said Supongvorn Mianpoka, senior vice president of ASP's fund management department.

"Europe is our top priority for investment, since we predict stock valuations there to be cheaper than average from the increase of private and government spending through economic recovery and gradual growth. Japan is also interesting since its government is still stimulating the markets and its currency is still relatively low, which will boost Thailand's export sector.

"Stocks in the United States are not cheap and their growth seems to be slower, but their sentiment value is still high and remain one of our primary targets," he said.

ASP believes that political uncertainty in Thailand and the tapering of the US quantitative easing (QE) programme are the main reasons for the downward trend of Thai stocks in the past three months. However, it also believes the SET will bounce back in last two quarters of the year if the political situation is resolved non-violently.

Supongvorn expects corporates' operating results in 2014 to grow by 10 per cent, which might pushed the SET Index to 1,500 points this year.

"From the current situation, we believe that the SET has reached the bottom and will not go lower than 1,200 points while the P/E ratio should definitely stay above 8 times if the political situation does not turn violent. If the political situation is resolved, our sentiment and growth will bring back foreign investors and their funds along with them," he said.


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