Bargain Shopping With China ETFs

ETF Trends

Coming up against elevated valuations in the U.S. equities market, more investors are turning to Chinese stocks, along with country-related exchange traded funds, to pick up some bargain picks.

Chinese equities show steep discounts relative to U.S. stocks, trading at about 9 times companies’ forecast earnings, compared to 11 times for the region and almost 15 times for global stocks, reports Mia Lamar for the Wall Street Journal.

For instance, among the largest China-related ETFs, the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI) shows a price-to-earnings ratio of 7.8 and a price-to-book of 1.1, iShares MSCI China ETF (MCHI) has a 9.2 P/E and a 1.2 P/B, and SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC) has a 9.2 P/E and a 1.1 P/B. [A-Shares ETFs Could be China Value Plays]

In comparison, the S&P 500 index has a P/E ratio of 17.4 and a P/B reading of 2.4.

The market can be a good destination for value investors. Chinese stocks have fallen behind other developed markets in recent years, but value stocks are outperforming growth shares this year at a pace “more persistent than during any other period in the last two to three year,” according to HSBC.

“If you are a global value investor and you don’t own anything in China, you have a lot of explaining to do,” Brad Radin, who runs Radin Capital Partners Inc., said in the article.

Radin has been doubling his position in Chinese stocks, with a heavy emphasis on dividend-paying consumer companies.

Nevertheless, there are still some pockets of uncertainty. Some investors argue that weakness persists in the Chinese financial sector and on homebuilders after a housing boom.

“Getting comfortable with the financial positions is the biggest challenge.” Jason Wolf, a portfolio manager for Marty Whitman’s Third Avenue Management, said in the article.

The large China ETFs have a heavy tilt toward the financials sector. FXI allocates over 50% of its portfolio to the sector, GXC has 25.5% and MCHI includes 31.4%.

On the other hand, investors can consider small-cap China ETFs. The Guggenhiem China Small Cap ETF (HAO) and iShares MSCI China Small Cap Index Fund (ECNS) both hold heavy positions in industrial and consumer sectors. HAO has a 9.7 P/E and a 0.8 P/B. ECNS has a 9.1 P/E and a 0.8 P/B. [Small-Cap China ETFs to Capture Regional Stimulus Measures]

For more information on China, visit our China category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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