NetEase, lead Hong Kong stocks higher as JPMorgan turns positive on Chinese tech shares

  • In a report, JPMorgan said uncertainty around technology stocks was starting to recede after a slew of recent regulatory announcements
  • Market sentiment was also boosted by news that Shanghai, the mainland’s financial capital, plans to reopen in phases starting next month

Hong Kong stocks rose to their highest level in almost two weeks after JPMorgan Chase upgraded its recommendation on some of China’s biggest technology companies.

Sentiment was also boosted by news that Shanghai, the mainland’s financial capital, plans to reopen in phases starting next month.

The Hang Seng Index climbed 2.2 per cent to 20,395.66 at the noon break on Tuesday, heading for the highest close since May 5. The Hang Seng Tech Index surged 4.2 per cent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 per cent.

An exodus of capital from the city lingers, pushing the Hong Kong dollar down to 7.85 against the US currency, the lowest end of its trading band, for a sixth consecutive day. A breach of that level would trigger an intervention by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to protect the local currency’s peg to the US dollar.

NetEase, and Alibaba Group Holding all rallied more than 4 per cent to lead the gains after JPMorgan upgraded 17 Chinese tech companies trading in Hong Kong and the US, citing a return of some certainty to the sector amid a softened regulatory stance.

The rating change, issued on Monday, was a reversal of the US bank’s bearish call in March that called China’s tech sector “uninvestable.” Bloomberg later reported that the word – which sparked a massive sell-off – had been published in error.

“Looking at the market in a one-year horizon, stocks have fully priced in the fallout of the pandemic and the risk of the geopolitical risk,” said Lu Bin, chief investment officer at HSBC Jintrust Fund Management in Shanghai. “Opportunity overrides risks now.”

Alibaba, the owner of this newspaper, rallied 5.4 per cent to HK$89.15 and Tencent gained 3.3 per cent to HK$361.40. Kuaishou Technology rose 3 per cent to HK$70.40 and NetEase added 4.3 per cent to HK$148.20.

JPMorgan lifted its recommendation on the four stocks to overweight from underweight, while raising the rating on, Baidu and Bilibili to neutral from underweight.

“Significant uncertainties facing the sector should begin to abate on the back of recent regulatory announcements,” analysts led by Alex Yao wrote in the Monday report.

Meanwhile, confidence returned as traders re-evaluated China’s growth prospects after Shanghai said on Monday it will lift a two-month lockdown in phases starting on June 1 and aim to fully reopen the economy later in that month. The city of 25 million people reported no community infections for a third straight day in the past 24 hours.

SMO ClinPlus, which provides clinical research service, surged 64 per cent to 76.55 yuan on the first day of trading in Shenzhen.

Author: Zhang Shidong, SCMP

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