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JPMorgan Chase bets on six HK property stocks

Singapore

JPMORGAN CHASE & CO has landed on six property stocks that can best weather the Hong Kong turmoil after applying a worst-case scenario that envisages home prices plunging 30 per cent, retail sales falling by a similar amount and prime office rents sinking 40 per cent.

While a worst-case scenario may seem a rather grim starting point, analysts at the New York-based investment bank said in a report earlier this week that's what most investors are starting to factor in considering the uncertainties in the former British colony. They include a re-escalation of the US-China trade war and the social unrest in Hong Kong, both of which will impact upon the city's status as an international financial centre, JPMorgan said.

Against that backdrop, just six companies make JPMorgan's overweight list - CK Asset Holdings, Henderson Land Development, New World Development, Wharf Holdings, Hang Lung Properties and Link REIT. "The primary objective of our worst-case analysis is to identify stocks that are still good for investment even under this sort of scenario," analysts led by Cusson Leung wrote, adding such assumptions were not their base case.

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JPMorgan said CK Asset has been diversifying away from property in Hong Kong and China. Henderson Land has been ramping up asset disposals. Wharf and Hang Lung have promising shopping malls after some tenant reshuffling, while New World, the only developer of the six with a residential angle, should see the most substantial increase in rents.

"We believe the only type of residential projects which are still selling well is the mass market product, of which New World will have a 3,000-unit to be launched in Tai Wai early 2020," the Sept 2 report said. BLOOMBERG