Asian equity markets were mixed overnight, as growth stocks outperformed in the region. The growth stock and growth sector outperformance occurred in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Hong Kong internet stocks had a decent day, led by Alibaba HK +1.21% and JD.com HK +2.69% less Tencent -012% despite their continued buyback. In the Mainland market, growth stocks were strong as solar stocks ripped, such as Sungrow +9.09% and Trina Solar +7.73% on policies supporting new construction utilizing solar panels. The EV ecosystem had a good day in both Hong Kong and China.
On the other hand, value stocks had a terrible day in both Hong Kong and China. The financials and real estate sectors were the worst performers in both markets and were off on concerns that apartment buyers of unfinished buildings are not paying their mortgages. There are 160 such projects across sixteen provinces, mainly in lower-tier cities. The actual liability isn’t the end of the world for any bank involved though investors shot first/asked questions later. The situation has gotten the attention of the PBOC, which is apt to put the issue to bed. Bloomberg News is saying a significant infrastructure stimulus is coming though I’m not seeing anything on this. If true, maybe the focus is on getting these complexes built. The other sector that had a challenging day in both markets was the utilities sector, led lower by electric companies. The culprit is the significant heat wave occurring in China combined with less rainfall which hurts hydroelectric companies.
There were two developments overnight in US ADR delisting/Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act news:
1) The WSJ interviewed Gary Gensler, stating that a solution might not be found. I would chalk that comment up to Negotiating 101, as discussions are coming up.
2) Our friend Marcel noticed a Bloomberg News article that included comments from California Congressman Brad Sherman, one of the architects of HFCAA. Sherman stated that a solution is apt to arise “until a little after the last minute.” Bloomberg writes, “He predicted Beijing would ultimately pull some “strategic” companies off US exchanges but would likely cooperate with the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to avoid the delisting of scores of other Chinese stocks.”
This aligns with our view that SOEs should be delisted as their audit reviews might have sensitive information. The private companies have nothing to hide, so let them adhere to the PCAOB’s global standard. Our conservative approach to holding Hong Kong share classes over the US ADRs is aligned with the potential for a last-minute solution. Hopefully, the two sides can put this issue to bed.
I recognize a lot of concern about China re-entering full-scale lockdowns. How can you stay on top of this? Go to Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland. This concern isn’t a problem as long as you can book hotels. There are cases of covid in Hong Kong and China, but we don’t see citywide lockdowns. We see districts, neighborhoods, or apartment buildings go into lockdown, not entire cities.
The Hang Seng and Hang Seng Tech diverged by -0.22% and +0.89% on volume +4.08% from yesterday, which is 80% of the 1-year average. 245 stocks advanced while 225 declined. Hong Kong short sale turnover declined by -7.19% from yesterday, 84% of the 1-year average, while short sale turnover accounted for 17% of Hong Kong volume. Growth factors outperformed as value factors had a rough day while small caps outperformed large caps. The top sectors were healthcare +4.04%, discretionary +1.28% and tech +0.87% while financials -2.53%, utilities -2.22% and real estate -1.56%. The top sub-sectors were EV and EV battery related, such as lithium, charging, and fuel cell, along with auto, while liquor, wind, cobalt, and electric plants were among the worst. Southbound Stock Connect volumes were light as Mainland investors bought Tencent small while selling Meituan small.
Shanghai, Shenzhen, and STAR Board diverged -0.08%, +0.79%, and +2.28% on volume +9.36% from yesterday, which is 95% of the 1-year average. 2,435 stocks advanced while 2,023 stocks declined. Growth factors significantly outperformed value factors today, while small caps outperformed large ones. Top sectors were healthcare +1.35%, industrials +1.29% and tech +0.77% while utilities -2.81%, real estate -2.22% and financials -2.15%. Top sub-sectors solar and EV battery related such as lithium and CATL’s suppliers, while electrical utilities, hydropower plants, and real estate companies were among the worst. Northbound Stock Connect volumes were moderate as foreign investors sold -$135mm of Mainland stocks. Treasury bonds rallied while CNY eased -0.44% to 6.74 and copper slipped -0.69%.
Last Night’s Exchange Rates, Prices, & Yields
- CNY/USD 6.75 versus 6.73 yesterday
- CNY/EUR 6.75 versus 6.76 yesterday
- Yield on 10-Year Government Bond 2.79% versus 2.81% yesterday
- Yield on 10-Year China Development Bank Bond 3.06% versus 3.06% yesterday
- Copper Price -0.69% overnight