Asian companies see biggest earnings upgrade in 6 months

FILE PHOTO: A general view of Mumbai's central financial district

(Reuters) – Asian firms have received the biggest upgrade to their forward 12-month earnings estimates in six months, bolstered by a surge in regional manufacturing and exports as a recovery in global demand continues, data from Refinitiv shows.

Analysts lifted their forecasts for Asian companies’ forward 12-month earnings by 3.9% in May, the highest since November last year, according to the data.

“Earnings recovery remains a dominant theme despite risks of rolling COVID waves ahead aided by strengthening of vaccine rollouts in more developed parts of Asia,” Nomura said in a report at the end of last month.

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The recovery was being driven by sectors where structural themes underpinned earnings such as semiconductors, electric vehicles, internet/e-commerce and gaming, the bank said.

Asian companies posted higher-than-expected profits in the first quarter, prompting analysts to revise their forecasts higher for the year.

Goldman Sachs said regional firms’ first-quarter earnings grew 70% last year, while their median earnings surprise was the highest in a decade at 12%.

Taiwanese companies saw the biggest earnings upgrades of 5.9% in the past month, while Indian firms’ were lifted by 3.5% after a cut in April as a second wave of the pandemic took hold.

Breakdown by country for estimates changes in last 30 days

“India might see selected pockets of strength despite concerns around surging COVID-19 cases as manufacturing activity remained stable, while sectors such as information technology reported strong earnings results,” said Goldman Sachs in a report last month.

“Although consumer-facing sectors could see some headwinds.”

India’s daily coronavirus cases have, however, been declining in recent weeks, and its vaccination drive has accelerated after a slow start.

South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and Australia, all saw earnings upgrades of more than 2% in the last month, while the Philippines and China received small downgrades.

Breakdown by sector for estimates changes in last 30 days

(Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)