Business / Markets

Money managers to boost A-share holdings

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-04-18 08:12

Individual investors are not the only ones pouring cash into Chinese stocks after they surged faster than any other market worldwide.

Five of the 11 professional money managers from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan surveyed by Bloomberg from April 8 to Thursday said they plan to boost holdings of yuan-denominated A shares this quarter, while four will maintain positions and just two will reduce their stakes. Technology, consumer, healthcare and financial shares were preferred industries among the managers, who oversee a combined $41 billion.

The responses show the Shanghai Composite Index's 99 percent surge over the past year, driven by a record pace of new stock-account openings, still has support outside the Chinese individuals who comprise at least 80 percent of trading at the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges. Institutional investors are betting that sustained inflows, interest rate cuts and prospects for an improving economy will keep the rally going.

"New funds have been continuing to flow into the market and I need to follow the trend," Dai Ming, a money manager at Hengsheng Asset Management Co, which oversees 1.2 billion yuan ($194 million), said in Shanghai. "Furthermore, China's economy will make headway going forward."

Mainland investors have opened a record 10.8 million new stock accounts this year, more than the total number for all of 2012 and 2013 combined, data from China Securities Depository and Clearing Co showed. The flood of money from these rookie stock pickers has helped feed market momentum after policymakers stepped up efforts to bolster an economy expanding at the slowest pace since the global financial crisis six years ago.

The government will not allow growth to fall below this year's target of 7 percent, said Hong Hao, head of China research at Bocom International Holdings Co in Hong Kong, who forecasts at least three more interest rate cuts this year following reductions in November and March.

The Shanghai Composite Index, up 30 percent in 2015, will probably rise an additional 14 percent by year-end as the government adds stimulus and investors speculate mainland shares will be included in MSCI Inc's global indexes, Henry Lin, president of Fubon Asset Management Co in Taipei, said on April 13. Inclusion in MSCI indexes could fuel buying from investors with an estimated $9 trillion of assets benchmarked to the gauges worldwide.

Bullish money managers are also betting that President Xi Jinping will take more measures to make State-owned enterprises more efficient and shift the economy toward domestic consumption. The anticipated start of an exchange link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen this year will facilitate more stock purchases from international funds, they said.

Some investors are using Shanghai's exchange link to shift holdings to Hong Kong. Dual-listed shares of mainland companies are valued at a 25 percent premium on the mainland versus Hong Kong, according to the Hang Seng China AH Premium Index.

Shanghai Simpleway Asset Management Co, which oversees 2 billion yuan, is buying Hong Kong equities through the Stock Connect program and avoiding smaller mainland companies, Gui Jiang, the firm's general manager, said on April 9. Shares listed in Hong Kong are cheaper, said Gui.

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