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Foreign-listed Chinese shares jump as Beijing soothes worries

Stock Markets Mar 16, 2022 05:56PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a logo of Alibaba Group at its office building in Beijing, China August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang 2/3
 
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By Danilo Masoni, Tiyashi Datta and Caroline Valetkevitch

(Reuters) - Foreign-listed Chinese shares rallied on Wednesday after Beijing vowed to keep markets stable, soothing overseas investors' nerves after a sell-off due to worries over differences between China and the West in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Remarks by China's Vice Premier Liu He that Beijing would roll out support for the economy and keep markets stable sparked a bounce from 21-month lows for local equities, fuelling a rally for U.S.- and Europe-listed Chinese shares.

In U.S. trading, JD (NASDAQ:JD).com jumped 39.4%, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) gained 36.8% and Pinduoduo (NASDAQ:PDD) rallied 56.1% in the biggest daily percentage advances ever for those shares. They fell to multi-year lows https://tmsnrt.rs/3u4Xtsk during Tuesday's sell-off. The iShares MSCI China exchange-traded fund rose 20.9%.

Similarly, gaming company NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) rose 25.7%, online video platform IQIYI jumped 50%, music-streaming company Tencent Music gained 29.3%, and mobile game publisher Bilibili (NASDAQ:BILI) advanced 47.6%, while Amsterdam-listed Prosus (OTC:PROSF), which owns a 29% stake in the Chinese tech giant Tencent, also gained sharply.

"It was an utter surprise to the market that this is something (China is) even thinking about," said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey. "That's what made the rally so strong."

Still, "there's going to be a discount on all of these stocks for a while," he said, noting the recent JPMorgan Chase downgrade. Earlier this week, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) downgraded 28 Chinese stocks listed in the United States and Hong Kong.

"You need some follow-through here. It's not enough to have one Chinese official say something really positive," Meckler said.

Citibank's Asia-Pacific trading strategist in Hong Kong, Mohammed Apabhai, likened the moment to the Federal Reserve's market backstop in 2020 or then-ECB chief Mario Draghi's "whatever it takes" speech that staunched the eurozone crisis in 2012.

"It's not quite of that order of magnitude, but it's not that far away either," he said. "It seems like China has realized that the need to do something to support the economy, something proper."

Chinese equities have seen severe selling pressure in recent days. Hong Kong stocks fell to a six-year low on Tuesday.

"Although it is still a volatile and somewhat opaque market, I think this is the right moment to look at Chinese stocks because valuations are good and macro data are recovering," said Giuseppe Sersale, fund manager at Anthilia in Milan.

Frankfurt-listed depository receipts for Alibaba were among the most traded stocks on the Tradegate and Lang & Schwarz platforms, suggesting interest from German retail investors.

According to Vanda (NASDAQ:VNDA) Research, which tracks retail flows, appetite for China ADRs has picked up the most since September 2021, with net purchases over the last 10 trading sessions topping $500 billion, the highest level in over six months.

Separately, China's securities regulator said it would continue to communicate with U.S. regulators and strive to reach an agreement on China-U.S. audit supervision cooperation as soon as possible.

The speed at which Beijing has responded to this week's sell-off would suggest it does not want to let things drift out of control, said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould in London.

"Its key goal is common prosperity and stock markets matter because a lot of Chinese retail investors have money in equities, so their wealth is at stake if shares are plummeting in value," he said.

Some analysts see Chinese stocks as a possible good long-term investment, following a torrid 2021 amid a crisis in the real estate sector and a severe regulatory crackdown on tech giants.

The MSCI China index was trading at a valuation discount of more than 30% to world stocks and twice as much the 20-year average discount, per Refinitiv data.

Foreign-listed Chinese shares jump as Beijing soothes worries
 

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Luis Bi
LuisB Mar 16, 2022 6:11PM ET
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Massive Dead Cat Bounce on a Heavy Downtrend Stock...Fasten Your Seatbelts Roller Coaster Coming
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