Strategy Note /

PAKISTAN: Protests show Sharifs’ weakness (which equity valuations already reflect, so still positive)

    Hasnain Malik
    Hasnain Malik

    Strategy & Head of Equity Research

    Tellimer Research
    26 November 2017
    Published byTellimer Research
    Protests again, but more complicated this time. The context for ongoing protests, which have mushroomed in recent days, are complex and interwoven, with underlying clashes between radical religious parties and mainstream politics, opposition politicians and the incumbent civilian government (led by the PMLN, which, in turn, is led by Nawaz Sharif, despite his disqualification as PM in July 2017), the Army and the survival strategy of the PMLN leadership, specifically the Sharif brothers in the face of their corruption litigation. The factor which matters most for investors in the near term is the last one. The Sharifs’ focus on survival is likely compromising the quality of government policy and economic management in advance of the H2 18 election. But we regard this as already priced in to local equities, at least, which, measured by the KSE100, have under-performed MSCI Frontier and Emerging in 2017 by 23% and 31%, respectively, and are valued at 20% below the mid-point of the last five-year range for trailing P/E. Our (non-consensus) view on Pakistan remains positive. But these protests require explanation.