Friday April 21, 2017
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Public Bank's first quarter pre-tax profit eased to RM1.63 billion from RM1.65 billion in the same quarter in 2016.  — File picPublic Bank's first quarter pre-tax profit eased to RM1.63 billion from RM1.65 billion in the same quarter in 2016. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Public Bank’s shares were traded higher this morning, rising four sen to RM19.96 despite a slightly weaker first-quarter results announced yesterday.

As at 11.07am, a total of 1.21 million shares were transacted.

In the first quarter ended March 31, 2017 (1Q17), its pre-tax profit eased to RM1.63 billion from RM1.65 billion in the same period last year while revenue grew to RM5.03 billion from RM5.01 billion previously.

The bank’s net profit expanded by 1.5 per cent year-on-year to RM1.24 biliion but on quarterly basis it dropped by 15.8 per cent.

Research firms remained positive with Public Bank, saying the results came within their expectations.

RHB Research Institute has kept its forecasts on Public Bank, expecting its loan growth to gather momentum in the months ahead given the recovery in exports and business confidence.

“We maintain our ‘buy’ call as we like the bank for its solid asset quality, high provision buffers and comfortable capital ratios,” the research house said in a note today.

It has placed a higher target price of RM22.00 per share for Public Bank.

Bank’s gross loans grew an annualised 3.6 per cent in 1Q17, tracking below management’s growth target of between seven-eight per cent for this year.

Kenanga Research has kept its earnings forecast on Public Bank’s financial year 2017 unchanged and maintained the target price of RM21.17 per share as well as ‘‘market perform’ call.

Hong Leong Investment Bank has maintained its “hold” recommendation on Public Bank with unchanged target price of RM19.86 per share. — Bernama

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