China is reopening and investors are ready for it. After a bruising 2022, hedge funds have been adding positions in Chinese stocks. Net exposure in Chinese equities has increased from a low of 7% to roughly 13%, according to analysis from Goldman Sachs. The peak was 15% hit in 2020. “Aside from the reopening story, valuations still look attractive,” said Kevin Carter, chief investment officer of the Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce ETF ( EMQQ) . Carter points out that even with China’s outperformance this year, the MSCI China ETF is trading at 12 times earnings versus a Nasdaq valuation of 22 times earnings. MCHI 1Y mountain iShares MSCI China ETF on the move Stocks to play it Wall Street remains bullish on names like Alibaba and Baidu , however, analysts are increasingly interested in finding companies that benefit from increased consumption and activity on the ground in China. HBSC analysts are recommending Yum China , saying the company is set to benefit from restaurants reopening. Others on their list: Budweiser , with “growth set to be the fastest across our beer coverage,” wrote HSBC consumer analyst Lina Yan. And Luzhou Laojiao , “as we believe it will continue to gain market share in the sub—premium baijiu market,” adds Yan. Luzhou Laojiao trades on the Shenzhen exchange. Following Nike CEO John Donahue’s comments on the strength of the Chinese consumer, Cowen & Co analyst John Kernan cites Adidas as a beneficiary. In China, HSBC likes sportswear company Li Ning . With the Lunar New Year underway, travel analyst Jake Fuller at BTIG raised his estimates on Booking Holdings for the first quarter citing “strong trends so far in January” and “China’s reopening.” However getting back to pre-Covid pandemic levels will take time, according to experts. A new survey from Dragon Trail International found that while 60% of Chinese plan to travel outside the country this year, roughly 40% have no plans to travel in 2023. Over half of respondents who aren’t planning to travel cited financial constraints tied to Covid , while others revealed concerns about their health.
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