Asian markets were among the worst off in 2018 as trade tensions, U.S. interest rate hikes and China’s deleveraging policies sent investors running. However, now that the dust is settling, investors may find a cheap opportunity in emerging Asian markets and related exchange traded funds.
Asia’s share valuations compared to forecast earnings are at their lowest levels in five years, trading at 12 times expected earnings for the next 12 months, whereas the U.S. markets are trading at about 15.5 times or in line with their 10-year average, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Furthermore, when accounting for free cash flow, Asian stocks show even better value, trading at their cheapest levels in over a decade or hovering below the lowest levels last experienced during the financial crisis.
Meanwhile, as China attempts to bolster its economy through stimulus measures, the Federal Reserves looks to moderate its monetary tightening and the U.S. shows signs of progress in trade negotiations, some market observers and investors are growing more optimistic about the emerging Asia outlook.
Looking beyond the short-term noise, fundamentals remain strong. Herald van der Linde, head of Asia-Pacific equity strategy at HSBC, argued that Asian companies are still delivering high-quality earnings growth. “Margins are expanding in China, and indeed in large parts of the rest of the region,” he said in a note, adding that estimates are for Asian earnings per share to rise by 8% this year.