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Earnings downgrades to continue in FY14: BofA-Merrill

Reuters Market Eye - Bank of America Merrill Lynch says it expects FY14 Sensex earnings per share (EPS) to be downgraded below 1,300 rupees, which is a growth of under 10 percent versus current expectations of 17 percent, citing concentration risk and a delay in economic recovery.

The investment bank says five stocks, namely Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC.NS), ICICI Bank Ltd (ICBK.NS), HDFC Bank Ltd (HDBK.NS), State Bank of India (SBI.NS) and Tata Steel Ltd (TISC.NS) account for nearly half of the profit growth. The bank notes that rate cuts have been slow and therefore sales growth in FY14 will continue to be weak.

BofA-Merrill adds that FY14 EPS growth, at 8-9 percent, will be higher than the 5 percent for FY13 and that long-term investors have probably been close to the bottom of the earnings cycle, though FY14 is unlikely to be the year of recovery.

(Reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi)

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