HSBC has named a raft of global stocks it thinks will continue to do well despite market turmoil, as it urges investors to "slow down." A rocky start to the year for equities has been compounded by Russia's invasion of Ukraine , which has introduced further uncertainty and volatility into global financial markets. The VIX ( Cboe volatility Index) , commonly known as Wall Street's "fear gauge," is up more than 90% this year, reflecting investors' nervousness about future volatility. Within Asia, the equity risk premium — the return generated over and above a risk-free rate of return — is already higher than average and close to the upper level of the band in which it typically trades, HSBC's strategists, led by Herald van der Linde, said on Mar. 10. "When in fog… the best thing to do is to slow down, dim the lights, and stay within the lane markings. So it is in Asian equities," he said. "In times of uncertainty, with so many moving parts, it is difficult to make strong calls. But there are also developments that, despite all the uncertainty, will continue to unfold across the region, in our view. These macro-insensitive themes provide a navigational aid in times of uncertainty." Shifting demographics One such theme is the rise of China's "empty-nesters" — affluent couples focused on so-called experiences and who want to "trade up" and buy better-quality products. Another is the increased need for "silver dollars" (ways to fund retirement), as well as rising financial inclusion, Van Der Linde said. This is positive for asset managers, life insurers, selected banks, and stock exchanges, he added. Within this space, the bank's top buy-rated stocks include Prudential , ICICI Prudential , Samsung Life Insurance and KB Financial Group . Banks and insurers such as HDFC bank , Bank of China , as well as brokers such as Huatai Securities and CITIC Securities also make the list. Automation Another key trend for HSBC is automation, as companies look to replace increasingly expensive labor and add value for customers through things like improved delivery services. Such moves will require smart warehouses, robots, and fifth-generation mobile network technologies, the bank added. Its top picks for this theme include Taiwanese chip maker Delta Electronics , Chinese pneumatic equipment manufacturer Airtac and industrial automation control products maker Shenzhen Innovance. Energy focus The Russia-Ukraine conflict highlighted Europe's dependence on Russian oil and gas, with the bloc now seeking greater energy independence from the world's second-largest oil exporter. China has also sought to secure its energy security as a matter of national security, HSBC noted. Outside mainland China, the latest long-term power plans have been revised to include less coal and more natural gas. The bank's top picks in this space include Hong Kong-listed ENN Energy and piped gas supplier Towngas Smart Energy , as well as Indian state-owned natural gas supplier GAIL and Indian liquified natural gas importer Petronet LNG .
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a logo of HSBC bank.
Gonzalo Fuentes | Reuters
HSBC has named a raft of global stocks it thinks will continue to do well despite market turmoil, as it urges investors to "slow down."