China Telcos Rally as Mainland Funds Buy Record Hong Kong Stocks

Having slumped under the weight of a U.S. executive order, China’s three major telecommunications companies are on the rebound in Hong Kong -- supported by a record inflow of mainland cash.

Mainland traders bought a record HK$19.5 billion ($2.5 billion) of Hong Kong stocks through trading links Monday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. China Mobile Ltd. led the gains for the country’s wireless majors, rising 5.8%. Its shares, along with those of China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. declined last week as index firms said they’d remove them from their gauges to comply with U.S. sanctions, and the New York Stock Exchange said it would delist them.

On Friday the three stocks were among the most actively traded through the stock connect. Mainland investors bought a net HK$11 billion of China Mobile shares, the most among all companies listed in the city, according to the latest available data from Hong Kong’s exchange. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., also among Friday’s biggest net buys, has seen its stock price jump 30% over the past four sessions.

China Telcos Rally as Mainland Funds Buy Record Hong Kong Stocks

“The net buying of China Mobile last week has been so strong and I have never seen it on a scale like this before,” said Castor Pang, head of research at Core Pacific-Yamaichi International Hong Kong.

Recent declines among some stocks identified by Washington as having military ties have made valuations attractive, said Kevin Chen, analyst at China Merchants Securities HK Co. “A lot of investors are ramping up to buy them at a very low price now, as this opportunity seldom appears. They are too cheap.” China Mobile, for example, is trading at around 7 times forward earnings, compared to around 12 times a year ago.

Relentless levels of mainland money have given Hong Kong stocks resilience in the face of political upheaval and abrupt setbacks. The city last year found itself in the crossfire of U.S.-China political tensions, amplified by the sweeping national-security legislation imposed by Beijing. That sparked the biggest stock crash in 12 years and raised concerns over possible capital outflows. But the inflows keep coming.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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