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Switch to Chinese from US equities paying off

Tong Kooi Ong and Asia Analytica
Tong Kooi Ong and Asia Analytica7/14/2022 05:27 PM GMT+08  • 10 min read
Switch to Chinese from US equities paying off
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Over the last few months, we made some major strategic changes to the Global Portfolio — primarily, switching away from the US market into Asian stocks. As explained last week, we think earnings for the S&P 500 companies are too optimistic and, therefore, valuations — even after the 1H2022 selloff — may, in reality, be much higher than what the current forecasts suggest. In particular, our portfolio currently has a relatively high weightage for Chinese stocks. We think China is the only major economy that is counter-cyclical in this global slowdown and tightening cycle that is led by the US.

We acquired shares in Alibaba Group Holding (adding to our previous holdings), Guangzhou Automobile Group, Postal Savings Bank of China and Yihai International Holding in early April, about three weeks after a major US bank rated Chinese equities as “uninvestable”. At that point, we believed Chinese equities offered very good risk-reward propositions, even if they do underperform in the short term. Save for Postal Savings, which we have since disposed of, all have far outperformed — with gains ranging from 19% to 25% at the time of writing. The moral of the story: Be careful what analysts and brokers tell you, as they are, often, self-serving.

This is also the reason why we added emerging market (EM) equities — DBS Group, Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam — to the Global Portfolio last month. We see a chorus of opinions against EM equities, on the basis that the US dollar will appreciate on the back of more aggressive interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve.

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