Big ANC election win could send shares up

A South African election outcome that sees the ruling party win 55-60 percent of the vote could boost shares in banks and insurers, retailers, locally focused industrial companies, property firms and telcos, according to UBS Group AG.

A victory of that magnitude for the African National Congress in the May 8 poll is a result seen by many as enabling President Cyril Ramaphosa to lead “in a less constrained way,” said Aveshen Pillay, director of equity derivatives sales and structuring at UBS in Johannesburg.

UBS last week listed two products on the Johannesburg exchange that allow investors to position for a new surge of “Ramaphoria” after the election. A strong showing for the ANC may trigger a rally in South African assets on expectations of greater policy certainty, better management of state-owned companies and an improved outlook for growth, Pillay said in an emailed response to questions.

UBS has listed a basket of 20 stocks correlated to rand strength, including financials, retailers, industrials, property and telcos. The second of the six-month products is based on a group of 10 domestically focused, “South Africa Inc.” stocks tipped to benefit most from lower bond yields, a stronger currency and improved growth and consumer sentiment.

While South African equities look expensive, “opportunities exist within sectors such as financials and property stocks benefiting from lower bond yields, and retailers and food producers on attractive valuations relative to history and exposed to the consumer,” Pillay said.

South Africa’s benchmark index dropped 0.4 percent as of 2:49 p.m. in Johannesburg Monday, trimming its advance this year to 11 percent.

Here are some of UBS’s preferred South African stocks in the lead up to the election, detailed in an April 16 report co-authored by Pillay:

  • Absa Group, Capitec Bank Holdings, FirstRand Ltd., Standard Bank Group Ltd.: “Expect lower yield environment and lower cost of equity to support performance for local banks. Banks should also benefit from improvement in consumer sentiment and growth outlook. Policy clarity could provide additional driver for corporate borrowing and investment”
  • Discovery Ltd., Old Mutual Ltd. and Sanlam Ltd.: To benefit from the “lower-yield environment, improved consumer sentiment and strong market performance”
  • Bidvest Group Ltd.: Should benefit from a resumption of government contracts, with improved growth outlook supporting logistics business
  • Multichoice Group Ltd.: Seen benefiting from improved domestic consumer sentiment and growth outlook
  • Vodacom Group Ltd.: Most exposed to the South African consumer, with attractive valuations
  • Pick n Pay Stores Ltd.: Shoprite Holdings Ltd., Truworths International Ltd., Mr Price Group Ltd., Clicks Group Ltd. and The Foschini Group Ltd.; To benefit from improved consumer sentiment and growth prospects; sector has de-rated and is looking attractive relative to history “Strong rand should help lower input inflation and support margins”
  • Tiger Brands Ltd., AVI Ltd.: Strong gearing to the local consumer should support the sector on improved consumer sentiment “Expect to see additional benefit from currency strength and lower input costs”
  • Redefine Properties Ltd. and GrowthPoint Properties Ltd.: Lower yields and a stronger rand should support share price performance in the short term; Longer term benefit from improvements in demand for property space

UBS SA Election Portfolio

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Big ANC election win could send shares up