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(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "Looking at the story du jour - which really could be the story ...
of the century - and Chinese economic reforms, how confident are you that
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(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "Looking at the story du jour - which really could be the story of the century - and Chinese economic reforms, how confident are you that we'll see market-oriented reforms and that you should rush more money into investing in Chinese equities?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) HSBC GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, CIO, ASIA-PACIFIC, BILL MALDONADO, SAYING: "I think we should be very confident. I think we should be very happy. I think investors maybe got a little bit too optimistic about the level of detail that they would receive and so perhaps some observers are reacting to that. But I think more realistically, as a broader community, we should be very happy with what we heard. Definitely a very strong commitment to a reform agenda. That's fantastic news for an economy that's the second largest in the world now and a fantastic opportunity for investors. As always for us, we still have to think about the profitability and the valuation of the companies that we invest in, so it won't be a question of just jumping in with both feet rushing in, but evaluating the opportunities carefully. But it's certainly very good news for the future." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "Now I know you're a valuations-oriented guy and looking at companies as opposed to the bigger picture, so with the Chinese reforms in mind, how would you be building a portfolio? What particular types of Chinese equities?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) HSBC GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, CIO, ASIA-PACIFIC, BILL MALDONADO, SAYING: "Well today I think it doesn't change the picture very much immediately. I know that there's been a run-up in some consumer stocks that are going to benefit from the kind of more social side of the agenda. Probably a lot of those stocks are already very expensive, so for us, they weren't really that interesting. We're still looking for stuff that's both very profitable - has some good growth opportunities - but is coming to us at a good price. So I think we'll continue to see more and more information emerging about the reform plans and we'll have to see how that impacts different sectors. And it'll take time to play out. It's not something that's going to happen in the next week or two. It's going to take months and months and months." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "Swiftly moving along to Japan where there's been a big run-up in the stock markets on the back of Abenomics. Is that going to come back and ease back now? You look at profitability in the recent earnings in terms of Japanese firms, quite mixed." (SOUNDBITE) (English) HSBC GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, CIO, ASIA-PACIFIC, BILL MALDONADO, SAYING: "Yeah, look I think that the big, big question out there for Japan is the third arrow - the so-called third arrow - the structural portion of the reform agenda in Abenomics. And by the admission of the government themselves, nothing's going to happen on there in the near term. They acknowledge that that's very tough in a domestic context, that some of the things they have to tackle are going to be very, very difficult. So, we still don't know. We still don't know. Without that third arrow, without addressing some of the structural issues in the economy, I think it's going to be very difficult for the market to sustain." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "And let's wind up with India where the economy, economic growth at near 10-year lows, but the stock market recently hit record highs. Are you going to continue what is seemingly an overweight position in terms of Indian equities?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) HSBC GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, CIO, ASIA-PACIFIC, BILL MALDONADO, SAYING: "Yeah look, we're very attracted by India. We've got a long history of investing in India. I think we're one of the largest investors still in India today. And I think we, the market got way too bearish about India - particularly over the summer when the currency was coming under pressure. A lot of stuff has happened since then. There are some world-class companies listed in India - we mustn't forget that - that are very well run. I mean, to manage a company in an Indian context needs great discipline, capital asset allocation discipline, all kinds of things. And we've now got Tata that owns the Jaguar-Land Rover assets. There's a long, long list of companies that are great. So again, we're looking at specific opportunities and trying to not get too bearish about the sentiment." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "So a final view then, if you look across Asia, what are your top sector bets as we head into 2014?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) HSBC GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, CIO, ASIA-PACIFIC, BILL MALDONADO, SAYING: "Where we see the greatest combination if you like of value and profitability is in the cyclical sectors. So that would mean financials, that would mean industrials, some materials names. These have been the unloved stocks of the last couple of years as people were so worried about the global economy, they really were scared to have exposure to these cyclical names. And actually their profitability never declined to the extent that people thought they would and they're now more poised to begin to increase their profitability as the market begins to recover. So that's where we're really interested, that's where we're searching for our top picks." ENDS