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FTZ 'concept stocks' rock amid lackluster market

By Shi Jing in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-31 08:17

The free trade zone "craze" on the Shanghai Stock Exchange reached a fever pitch on Friday, giving the market a slight boost despite the lackluster performance of other sectors.

Nearly 40 "concept stocks" linked to the Shanghai FTZ shot up by the daily limit of 10 percent shortly after the opening. The stocks were in various sectors, including construction, logistics, transportation and financial services. The list of concept stocks has expanded to include companies that may benefit from possible FTZs in other cities, including Tianjin, Qingdao and Chongqing.

Some of these stocks, such as Tianjin Quanyecheng (Group) Co Ltd, Minsheng Investment Management Co Ltd and transportation company Chongqing Gangjiu Co Ltd also rose by the daily limit in morning trading.

Although the prices of most FTZ concept stocks have already surged above 30 times prospective earnings, more than double the stock market average, some analysts maintain that there is still some way to go.

These stocks, they agreed, will continue to dominate the market for weeks or even months.

"It can be predicted that concept stocks will be very active for a long time, spanning the period from central government approval of the FTZ to the issue and implementation of detailed regulations.

"Compared with other concept stocks related to media and information security, FTZ-related stocks will be performing well for a longer time," said Wang Jianhui, chief economist at Southwest Securities Co Ltd.

Seven Shanghai FTZ concept stocks rose by the daily limit of 10 percent before the end of the morning session. Shares in Shanghai International Port (Group) Ltd and Shanghai Jin Jiang International Industrial Investment Co Ltd have risen by the daily limit for six consecutive trading days.

The prices of Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Development Co Ltd, Shanghai Material Trading Co Ltd and CTS International Logistics Corp Ltd have soared more than 10 percent for five consecutive trading days.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed at 2,098.38 on Friday, up 0.06 percent. For August, the index was up about 2.9 percent.

"The influence of the central government's decisions will be immediately shown in the performance of free trade zone concept stocks.

"Logistics companies that are operating well enough already will benefit the most, as the free trade zone project will directly bring them more business.

"The positive influence on retailing and property will be limited. That's especially true for property developers, for there is already infrastructure in the zone and no new land has been allocated to the project," said Wang.

"The establishment of the Shanghai free trade zone and the implementation of creative policies expected to be issued shortly, imply a deepening reform ongoing in China.

"Although there will be similar projects in other cities, the level of these free trade zone projects will be lower and the policies will be less attractive," said Chen Li, a UBS AG stock strategist.

Tianjin has already applied for central government approval to launch an FTZ project and is now awaiting for consent from the central government. Zhoushan, Zhejiang and Xiamen, Fujian province are accelerating similar applications.

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