KUALA LUMPUR (March 24): Most banking stocks on the local stock exchange declined in morning trade on Friday (March 24), after US financial institutions continued to slide on Thursday.
At the time of writing, AMMB Holdings Bhd (AmBank) was leading the decline, shedding 2.94% to RM3.63 a share. This was followed by Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd (down 0.91% to RM2.17), Public Bank Bhd (down 0.76% to RM3.92), Malayan Banking Bhd or Maybank (down 0.59% to RM8.44), and Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd (down 0.31% to RM3.24).
Meanwhile, Affin Bank Bhd was unchanged at RM2.
When contacted, Hong Leong Investment Bank analyst Chan Jit Hoong said most local banking stocks were in the red, partially because of the decline in US regional banking stocks.
However, he hoped that the pressure on local banking stocks will not be prolonged.
In a note on Monday, he said: “We turn bullish on banks again, but we believe the market will remain choppy, since investors have not shaken off their jittery mood.
“In our view, troubles at Silicon Valley Bank were highly idiosyncratic in nature, and we do not foresee Malaysian banks suffering from the same fate,“ he added.
He upgraded the banking sector to "overweight" from "neutral", with “buy” ratings for Public Bank (target price: RM4.80), RHB Bank Bhd (RM6.60), AmBank (RM4.35), Alliance Bank (RM4.15), and Bank Islam (RM3).