#Hot Stocks* Axiata leads telco stocks in active rebound

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 23): Axiata Group Bhd, which was the first index-linked heavyweight to rebound yesterday after the 2.4% sell-down on Monday due to election jitters, continued its advance today in price as well as in volume.

It grabbed the top seat among the leading turnovers, and was among the top 10 most actively traded counters.

Analysts said investors chased the stock mainly for the value seen in the stock after its huge fall on Monday. "It is the top pick for value stocks of many analysts after the sell-down," said one analyst.

After its share price plunge of 34 sen or 5.12% on Monday, the stock picked up six sen yesterday against a falling market.

At 3.30pm on Wednesday, it had gained five sen or 0.8% to RM6.41 on 11.28 million shares traded, after rising to a high of RM6.46 earlier. It was the only index-linked stock to squeeze into the 10 most-active list, usually dominated by penny and speculative stocks.

Alliance Research, which put the target price of Axiata at RM6.95 and with a "buy" call, said in a recent report that Axiata was its top pick for the telco sector given "its rising dividend profile and attractive valuation". Its net dividend was 4.5%.

Indeed, before the sell-down, several local and foreign funds were already picking up Axiata shares, according to Bursa Malaysia announcements. The sell-down provided an opportunity to buy the stock at a lower cost for these funds.

Controlled by Khazanah Nasional Bhd (with 39% stake), Axiata’s core net profit of RM2.13 billion for the nine months to September 2012 exceeded most market forecasts. Its mobile revenue growth of 2.3% was way ahead of that of Maxis (+0.2%) and DiGi (+0.1%), said Alliance.

Along with Axiata, other major telco stocks also rebounded today, including Maxis and DiGi.Com. Maxis saw its share rise three sen or 0.47% to RM6.38 on 6.85 million shares traded, while DiGi added three sen or 0.61% to RM4.94 on 3.94 million shares done.

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