Tesla’s surge limits sell-off in emerging stocks


  • Business
  • Wednesday, 05 Feb 2020

Tesla Model 3. The Palo Alto company’s more than 110% jump this year is helping offset the impact of the coronavirus in developing nations by buoying companies that provide electric-vehicle technology. The beneficiaries include LG Chem Ltd. Samsung SDI Co., WEG SA and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd.

LONDON: Now even emerging-market stock investors are celebrating Tesla Inc.’s eye-watering rally.

The Palo Alto company’s more than 110% jump this year is helping offset the impact of the coronavirus in developing nations by buoying companies that provide electric-vehicle technology. The beneficiaries include LG Chem Ltd. Samsung SDI Co., WEG SA and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has dropped 5.9% in the 12 trading days since Jan. 17, when the viral epidemic halted the new year equity rally. That’s about half the loss it suffered in the same number of days following Donald Trump's first announcement of tariffs in 2018. Four of the top 10 stocks that have positively contributed to the benchmark this time around are rising because of optimism around Tesla, now the world’s second-biggest automaker.

The coronavirus that originated in China’s Wuhan province has claimed more than 400 lives since it was first identified in early December, denting the growth outlook for the world’s second-largest economy. Investors have dumped locally-listed stocks as well as shares of non-Chinese companies that export goods and services to the country.

The selloff has more than erased a start-of-the-year rally in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index that had been stoked by optimism over the signing of a phase-one trade deal between the U.S. and China.

Yet, investors have looked for regions and investment themes that are relatively immune to a sluggish global economy. Brazilian value stocks and Indian consumer-staple companies have proved popular.

One exception to this atmosphere of caution: companies that produce parts or technology for electric vehicles. Tesla shares have been on a tear since October and added more than $80 billion to their market capitalization this year alone as the company reported earlier-than-expected profitability at its Gigafactory and delivered blowout quarterly results. Its supplier Panasonic Corp. returned to profitability, adding to the optimism.

That’s sparked demand for the following emerging-market shares:

LG Chem

The Korean maker of chemicals and electronic materials has jumped 14% since Jan. 17, defying a global equity rout. The company has a deal with General Motors Co. for a $2.3 billion battery factory in Ohio. Volvo Cars said in May it will buy batteries from LG Chem over the coming decades and Tesla agreed to use it as a supplier for its vehicles produced in China.

Korea’s Kospi Jumps With Foreigners Buying Electronics Stocks

Samsung SDI

This Korean company has jumped 31% this year as it reported better-than-expected operating profit. While first-quarter results may be affected by the coronavirus, the company said earnings will recover in the second quarter. Samsung SDI rose to a record high on Tuesday, with the biggest one-day gain since November 2017, amid foreign-buying of Seoul-traded stocks.

Jiangnan Mould and Plastic Technology Co.

The company supplies parts for Tesla’s Model Y in the North American market and jumped by the 10% daily limit for a second day on Wednesday. It’s the 13th such move this year and extends 2020’s gain to 241%. It is the best performer among stocks listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, excluding a newly listed bio-pharmaceutical equipment provider.

WEG

The Brazilian maker of electrical motors and machinery has advanced 11% during the virus-related slump in emerging-market equities as HSBC Holdings recommended buying the shares and set a target that’s almost 25% higher than the current price. The stock has been a top performer in the Ibovespa in the past three months after the company reported earnings and announced a plan to set up an engine factory in India.

CATL

The Chinese battery maker announced on Monday it won a two-year contract to supply to Tesla after months of negotiations. The batteries would go into Model 3 cars produced at Tesla’s new factory near Shanghai. The stock is up 40% this year and trades at 61 times its projected earnings over the next 12 months, a record-high valuation.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 2.4% on Tuesday, its first increase since Jan. 22. - Bloomberg

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