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Valuation concerns around Australian shares overblown

Valuation concerns around Australian shares overblown
By Sarah Kendell
03 February 2020 — 1 minute read

The Australian equity market will continue to provide growth for investors in 2020 despite concerns that shares are overvalued, according to T Rowe Price.

Addressing a media event in Sydney last week, the fund manager’s head of Australian equities, Randal Jenneke, said while multiples were high in the share market at the moment because of low interest rates, they were only looking “stretched” in certain sectors.

“Where multiples are a concern are areas like healthcare tech - you can see where those multiples are now versus their own history, and versus the market, are at levels we haven’t seen before. So that’s the part of the market where you do want to be concerned,” Mr Jenneke said.

“We’re still finding good attractive opportunities in lots of other parts - in consumer discretionary for instance, we are finding good attractive stocks trading at 21 to 22 times earnings.”

Mr Jenneke added that the domestic economy was likely to recover this year, supported by continuing low interest rates and the improvement of the housing market.

“I think housing is the key story that is going to underpin an improving consumer and really help growth in the course of 2020,” he said.

“If you look at house prices towards the back end of last year, it’s the sharpest recovery we’ve seen in over a decade. 

“This time last year the auction clearance rate was stuck in the 40 to 50 per cent market, house prices were falling and there was doom and gloom at the prospect of a change in government, but roll forward 12 months and the clearance rate is almost double what it was.”

Mr Jenneke said while the government would face some rebuilding costs as a result of the recent bushfire crisis, it was not likely to act as a headwind to economic growth in the coming year.

“The bushfires will have some impact but to put it in perspective, it is probably about a $5 billion event - the best parallel is the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2008 and 2009, which was a similar sort of magnitude,” he said.

“To put $5 billion into context of the budget, that’s got a revenue line of half a trillion dollars in an economy that’s $1.9 trillion, it’s very manageable and it’s not a big deal. It’s probably a 25 basis point impact on GDP.”


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