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ASIAMONEY Brokers Poll 2012: Kirk Yang, Best Electronics Hardware Analyst

06 Nov 2012

Yang of Barclays impressed for his bold call that a set of Taiwanese electronics suppliers to Apple would do well this year. Followers of his advice would have done very well indeed.

In a year in which both personal computer (PC) and Taiwanese equities were dropping, Kirk Yang’s bullish stance on the latter’s electronics makers was a risky move. But it’s one that has paid off.

“We all know that the global PC industry is quite weak and that the marketplace was hedging its share,” he explains. “But we noticed that Apple has continued taking market share away from their US and Japanese counterparts. Dell, Toshiba and Sony have been losing share, so we saw an opportunity for the suppliers with exposure to Apple.”

Yang’s top picks for the year were Taipei-based ASUSTec Computer, Pegatron Corporation and Quanta Computer, which are hardware suppliers for Apple iMacs, iPhones and iPads.

The rationale is obvious enough now that Apple’s stock has risen more than 46% year-on-year while its competitors face write downs and layoffs, but Yang was first to spot the trend. “I would say that today 80% of analysts would be with me, but one year ago it was just at the beginning of ASUSTec’s assent, and I was the only one to identify the trend,” he says.

Yang’s picks appear to be winners, with ASUSTec, Pegatron and Quanta having seen their stock valuations rise by 41%, 25% and 14% respectively from the beginning of the year to the beginning of November. This beats both the performance on the Taiwan stock exchange, which fell 2% during the corresponding period, and the electronics sector, also down 2% by late October.

In addition to research Yang, who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and has previously been chief financial officer of a Hong Kong-listed tech company and an engineer at AT&T and IBM’s PC arms, also counts himself a writer.

Among his literary accomplishments is a book titled Nothing is Impossible, published in Mandarin in 2008, which sheds light on banks’ sell-side research operations.

06 Nov 2012