(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s national carrier Qantas Airways Ltd., real-time information services company Iress Ltd. and rare earths producer Iluka Resources Ltd. were among the top stock picks at the Morgan Stanley Australia summit in Sydney Thursday.
Here’s a selection of views from some top fund managers:
L1 Capital’s Chief Investment Officer Mark Landau tips airline Qantas as his top choice as the company enjoys a strong market share, upbeat growth outlook, robust industry profitability and increased demand from China. “Australia is in the top three most desired destination for Chinese tourists, if they get the choice of where they would like to travel in the world, Australia comes consistently second or third after Japan — So there’s a company that’s exposed to one of the great megatrends, huge demand growth.” Landau also said the shares are still a bargain.
The airlines loyalty division is the most valuable, he said. “Over 30% of all credit cards spend in Australia is done with a Qantas frequent flyer linked credit card. It is a way to play the transition from the cash economy to the Apple pay and credit card economy.”
Ellerston Capital Ltd.’s portfolio manager Chris Kourtis named Iress as one of “Australia’s best tech stories.” The company has growth potential and has ability to refocus on its strong Australia business under the new leadership. Under the previous management, “disappointingly something like A$500 million of capital has been squandered on offshore expansion, acquisitions and capital for no return,” he said. “The new leadership has undergone an extensive review and I think what you’ll find is there’s gonna be big change.”
Jun Bei Liu, a portfolio manager at Tribeca Investment Partners, selected Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. as her top choice, citing increased demand in China as the economy continues to reopen. “Our view is that the Chinese market is an enormous opportunity, and then with the tariff there’s potential for immediate kick up if it does happen.”
Read: Australia’s Treasury Wine Sees Long Recovery From China Tariffs
“This company is not only cheap compared to domestic, it is very, very cheap relative to its global luxury beverage makers.”
Vince Pezzullo, Perpetual’s Head of Australian Equities, named miner Iluka as his top pick, saying the massive structural under-supply in the rare earths market presents the company with an opportunity. The market is looking for suppliers beyond China and this is something Iluka can capitalize on. “So with refining and processing, with China being 88% of global processing, the Americans didn’t like the idea of relying on them,” he said.
Airlie Funds Management portfolio manager Emma Fisher named investment company Seven Group as her top pick, citing strong value in its mining services business. Fisher said the stock will be buoyed by strength in the company’s WesTrac and Coates arms’ and 70% stake in construction material manufacturer and supplier company Boral.
“WesTrac owns the the monopoly license to distribute Caterpillar products in Western Australia and in New South Wales - probably the two best jurisdictions globally to distribute the products - given where the miners sit on the cost curve,” she said.
Crispin Murray, Head of Equities at Pendal Group, named insurer Suncorp as his top pick. Pricing discipline and improving investment returns are set to drive the stock price, and higher interest rates are good for the company. “Finally this is an industry that’s woken up.” Sector is taking action after generating “abysmal returns” for shareholders. Murray projects earnings growth of 10% for the stock for the next couple of years.
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