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BlackRock says Asian stocks can extend rally, boosted by China

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With Asia's benchmark stock gauge flirting with its 2007 peak, BlackRock Inc says it's not too late to buy the region's shares.

[KUALA LUMPUR] With Asia's benchmark stock gauge flirting with its 2007 peak, BlackRock Inc says it's not too late to buy the region's shares.

That's according to Andrew Swan, BlackRock's head of Asian and global emerging markets equities, who sees reforms in China and India as providing the impetus for growth.

Asian stocks will extend their rally, driven by global reflation from dynamics such as wage growth and strong earnings momentum, and higher commodity prices that support exports, Mr Swan said. China focusing on structural reforms and India pushing for more economic growth before a national election in 2019 will underpin further increases in equities, he said in a statement.

"We believe these factors still have the potential to propel stock prices even higher, though not at the current rate or in a straight line," said Mr Swan.  Japanese stocks remain favourable as corporate earnings return on the upswing with valuations that are still fair, he said.

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Mr Swan is cautious about the region's technology sector as valuations have been stretched after this year's rally. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has outperformed its US and European peers, helped by surging technology stocks such as Tencent Holdings Ltd that has more than doubled in 2017.

The regional gauge was poised to close at its highest ever on Wednesday.

Among other of BlackRock's views: In South-east Asia, prefers Indonesia for a cyclical recovery and energy related stocks in Thailand.

Malaysia is still an underweight for the world's largest money manager as valuations are stretched with a dearth of interesting stock opportunities.

BlackRock expects returns in Asian credit to be primarily driven by income going forward. Asian bonds continue to be attractive for investors seeking strong risk-adjusted income.

BLOOMBERG

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