Mainland shares to outperform Asian peers


Recovery mode: An investor smiling in a stock exchange office in Jinan, Shandong province. Chinese stocks have the advantage of having the economy recovering from the Covid-19 outbreak ahead of peers in the region. — China Daily

CHINESE mainland stocks may outperform Asian equities during the rest of the year, with structural opportunities abounding, according to analysts.

UBS Wealth Management is “overweight” on Chinese equities among Asian stocks as the Chinese market has the potential to outrun the region in the remainder of the year, Min Lan Tan, Asia-Pacific head of the firm’s chief investment office, said in a teleconference on Tuesday.

Chinese stocks have the advantage of having the economy recovering from the Covid-19 outbreak ahead of peers in the region, with work resumption making steady headway, she said.

Despite a 6.8% contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter, economic data such as credit growth and the purchasing managers’ index have showed signs of recovery and have been “ahead of expectations”.

The country’s total financing reached a record level of 5.2 trillion yuan (US$735bil) in March, which was the fastest single-month growth in history. The official PMI for the manufacturing sector stood at 52 in March, up from 35.7 in February, showing a substantial improvement in business operations from the previous month.

But analysts do not foresee a strong, broad-based rebound in equities. Instead, “the key is to be selective”, Tan said.

Quality names may do well in the market as the economy is being healed, she said, adding that industry consolidation may accelerate and help big companies obtain more market share, such as in China’s real estate sector.

Resilient sectors like healthcare are also preferred as the government would be investing more in hospital infrastructure, benefiting companies engaged in medical equipment, online diagnostics, and innovative drugs, she said.

Guan Qingyou, dean and chief economist at the Reality Institute of Advanced Finance, also expects abundant structural opportunities in China’s A-share market this year.

“I am positive about this year’s market. The market should be at a bottom in the first half of the year. As companies report their first-quarter earnings, the blow from the epidemic to firms will become clear for investors, which will help shore up market performance later, ” Guan said.

It is unlikely to see excessive liquidity injection and therefore a broad-based market rebound, but many sectors that saw crimped valuations due to the outbreak will have upside potential, Guan said in an interview with cctv.com.

Particularly, he agreed that leading firms will strengthen their advantage, as their anti-risk ability to achieve a relatively stable earnings performance will be highlighted, adding that tech shares with core independent technology capacity may outperform the market.The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped by 0.9% to close at 2,827.01 points on Tuesday. The ChiNext Index, tracking Shenzhen’s innovative startup heavy board, fell by 0.95% to close at 2,023.94 points. — China Daily

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