Investors are getting bullish (again) on China
Asia Unhedged has been saying it all summer: “Buy Chinese stocks,” and finally Western media is coming around to our way of thinking.
OK, our “buy on the dip” philosophy may have been early, and the dip was much deeper than we expected — the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index is now 40% off its high — but even if growth is slowing, China is where the growth is.
After a 150% run up in the Shanghai benchmark, many people thought Chinese stocks were overvalued. This sparked a summer crash in the mainland stock market. But in a market downdraft, good companies can fall just as much as unprofitable ones. Now many of those same investors are seeing bargains amid the carnage.
The Wall Street Journal says this is the moment investors have been waiting for. It said “global investors bought 21.4 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) worth of Shanghai-listed stocks in August through a trading link with Hong Kong, the largest monthly sum since December 2014” after redeeming 31.5 billion yuan of shares in July.
“Despite dour economic reports and volatility rattling Chinese markets in recent weeks, many portfolio managers believe Chinese stocks are worth a look following a 40% decline in the Shanghai Composite,” said WSJ.
China is still making the transition to a consumer-oriented economy and the sectors most likely to benefit from this are insurance, health-care, food and technology.
The selloff has been “indiscriminate,” Charlie Awdry, who manages about $1.2 billion in China-focused funds at Henderson Global Investors, told WSJ. He said he’s buying Chinese shares listed in the US, such as Alibaba Group Holding, which is down 26% since June 12. Awdry said the e-commerce firm is “a great cash-flow-generative business.” Alibaba’s net operating cash flow rose 50% to $6.79 billion in the year ended in March.
Other interesting stocks include liquor-maker Kweichow Moutai; Hong Kong-listed China Mobile, the biggest mobile carrier in the country; Hong Kong-listed China Taiping Insurance Holdings; Tencent Holdings, whose instant-messenger service is ubiquitous in China; and Chinese-language search engine Baidu.
China central-government bonds, whose returns have outstripped US Treasurys since the end of 2013, also look good according to WSJ. Five-year central government bonds have returned 10.2% in dollar terms since the end of 2013, compared with 5.8% for five-year US Treasurys.