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Mainland & Hong Kong See Profit-Driven Rotation

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Key News

Asian equities were largely off as China and India underperformed. China and, to a lesser extent, Hong Kong gave up morning gains as last week’s rotation/profit-taking from year-to-date winners to year-to-date losers accelerated in the afternoon session. Strong commodity price movements including copper’s nearly 4% move on the Shanghai Futures Exchange overnight drove the materials and energy sector higher.

The PBOC drained RMB 40 billion from the financial system via Open Market Operations overnight and left lending rates unchanged. Investors seem to be ignoring the PBOC’s advice last week to refrain from looking at open market operations and focus on interest rates, which have been relatively unchanged for a while now.

Online lenders will need to hold at least 30% of consumer loans themselves going forward to ensure they have some skin in the game. This was cited as a rationale for weakness in internet/e-commerce companies but isn’t this a good thing in the long run? Banks will be limited to lending 25% of reserves, which benefits bigger banks over smaller rivals. One Mainland broker kept their cool, remarking that today’s pullback was potentially driven by investors waiting for further clarity on the next Five Year Plan, which will be officially unveiled next month.

The Hang Seng lost -1.06% as volumes were over 200% of the 1-year average. Hong Kong volume leaders were Tencent, which fell -3.71% as Mainland investors were net sellers, China Mobile, which gained +3.53% after reporting January subscribers totaled 940mm, Xiaomi, which fell -5.38%, Meituan, which fell -5.52%, Kuaishou Technology, which fell -2.63%, Alibaba HK, which fell -2.49%, HK Exchanges, which fell -0.79%, energy giant CNOOC, which gained +1.51%, Ping An Insurance, which fell -1.2%, and Zijin Mining, which gained +4.14% on strong commodity price movements.

China took the brunt of the afternoon selloff as Shanghai was down by -1.45%, Shenzhen dipped -2.11%, and the STAR Board fell -2.66%. Bigger year-to-date winners including alcohol, electric vehicles, clean energy, health care, and home appliances were all hit hard. However, like in Hong Kong, energy and materials outperformed. Foreign investors sold -$172 million worth of Mainland stocks today while bonds were off a touch as the curve steepened slightly along with CNY versus the US dollar.

Xiaomi denied reports it will get into the EV business.

Trip.com (TCOM, formerly C-Trip.com) is said to be exploring a Hong Kong listing.

FTSE Russell announced that seven STAR Board stocks will be added to their emerging markets index on March 22nd. FTSE will also be transitioning Alibaba from its US-listed share class to the company’s Hong Kong share class, which MSCI is expected to do in the June Semi-Annual Index Review. Even though Alibaba HK represents, on average, only 25% of trading in the company’s shares, the US share class is considered a foreign listing while the Hong Kong listing is considered a local listing. Liquidity versus the EM index determines which share class ends up being included in major indexes. However, the share classes are fungible, so it matters little which share class is used. However, Hong Kong has a 10bps stamp tax on buys and sells, which is the only potential downside of the move to the Hong Kong share class.

H-Share Update

The Hang Seng gave up morning gains to close -1.06% at 30,319. Volume increased by 19% from Friday, which is 207% of the 1-year average. Meanwhile, breadth was decent with 27 advancers and 23 decliners. The 196 Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong and within the MSCI China All Shares Index fell -3.07% led by energy +3.94% and materials +3.9%. Meanwhile, health care -6.41%, tech -5.82%, discretionary -5.11%, staples -3.8%, communication -3.71%, and industrials -1.37%. Southbound Stock Connect volumes were elevated overnight.

A-Share Update

Shanghai and Shenzhen sold off in the afternoon to close -1.45% and -2.11% at 3,642 and 2,416, respectively. Volume increased by 24% from Friday, which is 148% of the 1-year average. Meanwhile breadth was decent with 2,506 advancers and 1,348 decliners. The 511 Mainland stocks within the MSCI China All Shares Index were off -3.14% led by energy +2.7%, materials +1.53% and real estate +0.16%. Meanwhile, staples -6.02%, discretionary -5.54%, health care -4.5%, industrials -3.26%, communication -3.16%, tech -2.61%, financials -1.98%, and utilities -0.69%. Northbound Stock Connect volumes were elevated as foreign investors sold -$172 million worth of Mainland stocks today.

Last Night’s Exchange Rates, Prices, & Yields

  • CNY/USD 6.47 versus 6.46 yesterday
  • CNY/EUR 7.85 versus 7.83 yesterday
  • Yield on 1-Day Government Bond 1.42% versus 1.48% Monday
  • Yield on 10-Year Government Bond 3.27% versus 3.26% Monday
  • Yield on 10-Year China Development Bank Bond 3.75% versus 3.74% Monday
  • China's Copper Price +3.96% overnight