For Chinese Tech Stocks, No News Is Good News
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For Chinese Tech Stocks, No News Is Good News

Hang Seng Tech Index has clawed back 11% after hitting a trough last week.

By REBECCA FENG
Thu, Jan 13, 2022 11:41amGrey Clock 2 min

Shares in major Chinese technology companies like JD.com Inc. and Meituan jumped Wednesday, adding to a recent rebound that suggests some investors see good value in the sector after a bruising 2021.

Analysts and investors said there was no clear catalyst for the rally in Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech stocks. But they said buyers appeared to be reassessing the sector in the new year, given lower valuations and an apparent lull in new action from Beijing.

After roughly a year under siege, the sector was finally benefiting from a lack of new measures, said Qi Wang, chief executive of MegaTrust Investment (HK).

“The Chinese government now needs to give companies the time to digest and comply with these new rules,” Mr. Wang said.

Meituan and JD.com stock jumped 9% and 11%, respectively, in Hong Kong trading. That helped lift the city’s Hang Seng Tech Index by 5%.

The index, which launched in July 2020, has now recovered nearly 11% since it hit a record closing low last Wednesday, the same day that China’s antitrust watchdog levied small fines on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Bilibili Inc., and Tencent Holdings Ltd. The gauge fell by roughly a third last year.

Several small rallies in recent months have petered out, but this rebound could prove more enduring if the slower pace of regulatory action continues, said Chetan Seth, Asia-Pacific equity strategist at Nomura. He added that “the companies themselves are geared to some very exciting long-term investment themes.”

David Chao, global market strategist for Asia-Pacific at Invesco, said his firm had “taken a much more constructive view” on Chinese shares, especially in tech, for this year compared with last year.

As of Tuesday, shares in sector heavyweight Tencent traded at a price of about 24 times expected earnings, data compiled by Refinitiv showed, down from 29 times a year earlier.

Other major gainers on Wednesday included Alibaba, Baidu Inc. and Bilibili, whose Hong Kong-traded shares each rose about 6%. All three are also listed in the U.S.

Some market watchers remain wary. Marcella Chow, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said the annual meeting of China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, in March should provide more regulatory certainty.

“Frankly, we are now taking a wait-and-see approach until [there is] more policy clarity on the China tech sector,” Ms. Chow said.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication. January 12, 2022.



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Surveys point to a fresh acceleration in the U.S., even as growth in the eurozone strengthens

By JOSHUA KIRBY
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Global economic growth is becoming more broad based, with surveys indicating that business activity in both the U.S. and the eurozone gained momentum in May.

The eurozone economy contracted in the second half of 2023 following a surge in energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent rise in interest rates intended to tame that inflation.

By contrast, the U.S. economy expanded strongly over the same period, opening up an unusually wide growth gap with the eurozone. That gap narrowed as the eurozone returned to growth in the first three months of the year, while the U.S. slowed.

However, surveys released Thursday point to a fresh acceleration in the U.S., even as growth in the eurozone strengthened. That bodes well for a global economy that relied heavily on the U.S. for its dynamism in 2023.

The S&P Global Flash U.S. Composite PMI —which gauges activity in the manufacturing and services sectors—rose to 54.4 in May from 51.3 in April, marking a 25-month high and the first time since the beginning of the year that the index hasn’t slowed. A level over 50 indicates expansion in private-sector activity.

“The data put the U.S. economy back on course for another solid gross domestic product gain in the second quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Eurozone business activity in turn increased for the third straight month in May, and at the fastest pace in a year, the surveys suggest. The currency area’s joint composite PMI rose to 52.3 from 51.7.

The uptick was led by powerhouse economy Germany, where continued strength in services and improvement in industry drove activity to its highest level in a year. That helped the manufacturing sector in the bloc as a whole grow closer to recovery, reaching a 15-month peak.

By contrast, surveys of purchasing managers pointed to a slowdown in the U.K. economy following a stronger-than-expected start to the year that saw it outpace the U.S. The survey was released a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise election for early July, banking on signs of an improved economic outlook to turn around a large deficit in the opinion polls.

Similar surveys pointed to a further acceleration in India’s rapidly-expanding economy, and to a rebound in Japan, where the economy contracted in the first three months of the year. In Australia, the surveys pointed to a slight slowdown in growth during May.

Businesses reported that they were raising their prices at the slowest pace since November, which should reassure the European Central Bank. However, the eurozone continued to add jobs in May, suggesting that wages might not cool as rapidly as the ECB had hoped.

The ECB released figures Thursday that showed wages negotiated by labor unions in the eurozone were 4.7% higher in the first quarter than a year earlier, a faster increase than the 4.5% recorded in the final three months of 2023

The ECB has signalled it will lower its key interest rate in early June, while the Fed is waiting for evidence that a slowdown in inflation will resume after setbacks this year.

Nevertheless, eurozone businesses and households shouldn’t bank on successive cuts to borrowing costs, ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said. “There is a huge degree of uncertainty,” he said. “We have made no decisions on the number of interest rate cuts or on their size,” he said in an interview published Thursday. “We will see how economic data evolve.”

Continued resilience in the eurozone economy would likely make the ECB more cautious about lowering borrowing costs after its first move, economist Franziska Palmas at Capital Economics wrote in a note. “If the economy continues to hold up well, cuts further ahead may be slower than we had anticipated,” she said.

– Edward Frankl contributed to this story.

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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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