China Economic Scan Weekly Stockmarket Review

Chinese stocks had a phenomenal week with the Hang Seng leading the charge, up 12.04% since the end of last week, at 17,389.87. Taiwan closely followed, powered by speculation of cross-strait M&A, the TAIEX index rose 9.87% to 6,583.87.

Chinese stocks had a phenomenal week with the Hang Seng leading the charge, up 12.04% since the end of last week, at 17,389.87. Taiwan closely followed, powered by speculation of cross-strait M&A, the TAIEX index rose 9.87% to 6,583.87. Mainland stocks also climbed, with the Shanghai Composite up 5.98% week on week to 2,625.65, and the Shenzhen Component up 7.16% to 10,183.06.

The combined net profit of the 1,624 listed companies in the Chinese mainland dropped 25.81% year on year in the first quarter (but was up 450.39% from the previous quarter) to 203.8 billion yuan. 1,186 companies reported gains, making up 73.03% of the total. The number of companies reporting losses increased nearly 200% to 438 compared with the same period last year.

China Galaxy Securities said China is at risk of a stock market “bubble” that may burst as investor confidence in the nation’s economic recovery weakens and bank lending slows. The Shanghai Composite Index has charged up 50% since last year’s low on Nov. 4, driving valuations on the index to 27.2 times earnings.

Statistics from China Securities Depository and Clearing Corp indicated that at the end of last year, institutional investors held 54.62% of the market value of all tradable A shares, versus 48.71% a year earlier. Stock values held by individual investors accounted for an overwhelming 69.87% at the end of 2005.

On the topic of capital raising, the first listing on China’s new Growth Enterprise Board (GEB) is expected in August, with 18 tech-related companies based in Zhongguancun set to list.

Li & Fung Ltd plans to raise about $350 million, selling stock at a range between HK$22.55 and H$23.38 per share to institutional investors. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are managing the sale. Li & Fung is raising capital to finance potential acquisitions and strengthen its balance sheet.

On results, Sohu.com said Q1 earnings jumped 106% to $44.6 million (beating analyst estimates of $40.3 million), or $1.15 a share, from $21.6 million, or 55 cents, a year earlier. Changyou, 68.5% owned by Sohu, said Q1 profit more than doubled to $33.5 million. Revenue, driven primarily by sales from the Tian Long Ba Bu role-playing game, increased 50% to $61.6 million.

Alibaba’s Q1 profit fell 16% to 253.4 million yuan (about US$37 million, and above analyst estimates of 201 million yuan) after sales and marketing costs rose 43%. Alibaba is considering international acquisitions as it aims to derive one third of its revenue from overseas customers in 3-5 years, from about 2% at present.

Guangzhou R&F Properties said its contracted sales in April jumped 80% from a year earlier to 2.34 billion yuan ($343 million) and it was confident of achieving its interim sales target.

Managing Director of China Economic Scan - a global providerof news analysis and research on the Chinese economy.