March 3 - Recent gains in U.S. bond yields putvaluations of lofty Asian shares under pressure, pushing them toa three-month low in February, while higher growth expectationslowered regional equities' valuations ratio in terms of futureearnings. The forward 12-month price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) for theMSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares wasat 17.16 by the end of last month - the lowest since November2020. The index gained 1.4% last month, the lowest in four months.It has risen 4.8% so far this year. U.S. President Joe Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19recovery package and vaccination roll-outs around the world havelifted expectations of faster global economic recovery andhigher earnings growth in coming months. According to Refinitiv data, analysts have raised Asiancompanies' forward 12-months earnings estimates by 2.9% inFebruary, the highest upgrade in four months. The surge in U.S. bond yields also hit some high-flyingsectors in the region, affecting overall valuations. Asian healthcare and consumer staples sector firms, whichwere the most expensive sectors in the region, slumped more than4% each in February. Asian healthcare stocks had a P/E ratio of 30.9 at the endof February, while consumer staples shares traded at a P/E ratioof 23.1. Shares of consumer discretionary and information technologycompanies also dropped last month. Among countries, India, Taiwan and Thailand were the mostexpensive in the region, with P/E ratios of 21.2, 17.5 and 17.4,respectively, Refinitiv Eikon data showed. REUTERS
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