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Overseas funds are loving Malaysia’s glove stocks

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign investors are using the selloff in Malaysian glove makers to return to last year’s stock market stars.

Top Glove Corp Bhd and Supermax Corp Bhd are among the top three stocks on the buy list of foreigners this year through April 2, attracting net inflows of RM1.4 bil (US$340mil), according to CGS-CIMB Research.

Global funds bought a net RM189.9mil of Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd, the brokerage said in a report.

Shares of glove makers were one of Asia’s hottest pandemic trades for much of 2020 before the rollouts of vaccines around the world weakened their appeal and became targets of short sellers.

The three biggest glove stocks, including Top Glove Corp, are the worst performers in Malaysia’s benchmark equity gauge this year.

“There is still significant value to be derived from Malaysian glove players which command 65%-68% of the global market share, ” Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd said in a report.

Glove stocks are trading at “unwarranted” six times to 10 times 2022 price-earnings ratios and offer dividend yields of 6%-8%, it said.

Top Glove and Supermax have slid more than 50% from their October peaks, dragging valuations to rock-bottom levels. Top Glove trades at about six times forward 12-month earnings, versus its one-year mean of 15.3 times. Supermax is priced at 3.8 times compared with its average of 15 times.

Pressure on Top Glove deepened late last month when the US Customs and Border Protection ordered personnel at US ports of entry to seize its gloves made in Malaysia over allegations of forced labour. — Bloomberg

That fueled concerns over its environmental, social and governance practices.

In contrast, Press Metal’s stock is the top gainers on the main index as its focus on ESG has made it a favourite among investors. - Bloomberg


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