Aberdeen Asset Management has reported a better than expected flow of money into its funds, but this appears to have prompted a spate of profit taking in its shares.
The fund management group said assets under management rose to £193.4bn at the end of December, up from £187.2bn three months earlier. Analysts were expecting a figure of around £191bn. In particular, investors put their cash into Asian and emerging market equities.
But Aberdeen's own shares are down 7.1p to 384.6p. The company did sound a slight note of caution on the outlook:
Global stock markets have begun 2013 with a more positive tone; while this is welcome, we believe that uncertainty still persists and that further periods of volatility remain likely in the months ahead.
Analyst Nic Clarke at Charles Stanley said:
After the strong run up in the share price in the second half of 2012 the shares are now trading on 15.6 times prospective earnings, so there is little room for slippage. Our recommendation on the stock remains hold.
Others pointed out the prospects of a return to shareholders. Numis said:
Aberdeen remains attractive relative to most in the sector in our view, but is clearly much more expensive than it was in the past on an absolute basis. We think quite a lot of the possible good news is now in the price. We think the scope for further re-rating is limited. We still see decent earnings growth coming through from continued moderate net flows and there is still room for a modest amount of revenue margin increase. We continue to believe that the last leg of "good news", comes from a more generous cash return to shareholders and would expect an update on this from the company in the interim results (expected on 29th April).
Owen Jones at Shore Capital said:
Aberdeen has spoken of its intention to return 'surplus' capital to shareholders over the coming periods via either a buy-back scheme and/or special dividends. This, combined with Aberdeen's global asset sourcing network, should maintain momentum for the shares going into 2013, we feel, and therefore we reiterate our buy recommendation on the stock.
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