China's Winners and Losers

The SSE Composite Index, Shanghai's stock exchange and one of the world's largest, finished last week up 1.8% to close at 3,067.75.

Good real estate news helped give stocks a needed lift. A land auction in Beijing broke price records one week after two of the country's top housing stocks reported strong quarterly earnings. Poly Real Estate Group, China's second-largest developer, saw its shares rise 7.3% for the week.

Institutions were likely responsible for the buying. Individual Chinese investors remain cautious, judging by China Finance Online's (Nasdaq: JRJC  ) squarterly results, reported last Wednesday. The Web-based provider of investor information reached a new peak in premium subscribers yet revenue fell 2%, and last year's fourth-quarter net profit turned into a loss.

The biggest pops and drops
Here's a closer look at the best- and worst-performing Chinese stocks of the past week, each of which trades on a major American exchange and is worth at least $150 million in market value. Returns are calculated from the March 12 close.

Last week's winners:

Company

Percentage Gain

CAPS Stars (out of 5)

KongZhong Corp. (Nasdaq: KONG  )

16.9%

****

China Eastern Airlines (NYSE: CEA  )

12.9%

*

China Integrated Energy

9.36%

**

China MediaExpress Holdings (NYSE: CCME  )

7.87%

*****

Noah Education Holdings (NYSE: NED  )

7.84%

*****

Sources: Capital IQ, Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo! Finance.

Last week's losers:

Company

Percentage Loss

CAPS Stars (out of 5)

Fuqi International (Nasdaq: FUQI  )

(46.9%)

****

Jinpan International (Nasdaq: JST  )

(17.1%)

*****

AirMedia Group

(16.3%)

**

China Agritech

(14.7%)

**

Lihua International

(13.3%)

*****

Sources: Capital IQ, Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo! Finance.

A weekly tour of China
The week's top Chinese stock, KongZhong, benefited from a strong earnings report. Demand for the company's mobile games and entertainment led to a 28% increase in revenue. Profit soared 286% over the same period.

Fools shouldn't be too surprised; interest in mobile games is on the rise in China. According to an August report from Analysys International, the overall market for mobile games grew 39.5% in last year's second quarter.

More recently, JBB Research published a report that predicts the number of Chinese mobile entertainment subscribers will double by the end of 2013. Total revenue from the sector is expected to reach $18 billion, a near tripling of the $6.5 billion gamers spent during 2008.

The other double-digit gainer, China Eastern Airlines, appears to be rallying on increased merger activity. Chinese officials are encouraging consolidation to improve efficiency and competitiveness with international carriers, The Wall Street Journal reported while covering the news that Air China would take control of Shenzhen Airlines. China Eastern, the country's third-largest carrier, completed its own merger with Shanghai Airlines in January.

But that's only part of the story. China Eastern may also benefit from higher prices and increased loads as tourism increases, Dow Jones quotes analysts as saying. That conclusion jibes with data from the International Air Transport Association, which predicts overall Asia-Pacific air traffic to rise 33% from now till 2013.

China Eastern, for its part, reported an 18.3% increase in the number of passengers carried during 2009. Marketwide, Chinese officials are projecting a 13% increase this year, reports Chinese aviation web portal AvBuyer.

The week's worse performer, Fuqi International, lost a lot more than market value; it also lost investors' trust. Shenzhen-based Fuqi, a jeweler, last Tuesday announced it would have to restate earnings for the first three quarters of 2009 due to "accounting errors." Fuqi will delay the filing of its 10-K annual report as a result. The company also cut its fourth-quarter earnings guidance by more than half.

An investigation into what went wrong is ongoing, but Fuqi's initial estimate is that it overstated profits by $0.15-$0.19 per share for the first nine months of the year. Fuqi had previously reported $1.64 in diluted per-share net income; more than 10% of that may soon be erased.

And yet I think All-Star Fool dibble905 is right that there's too much negativity baked into the current share price.

"If there has been deliberate accounting manipulation to deceive shareholders, key personnel responsible for such would have resigned or packed their bags long before the Sarbanes-Oxley compliance requirements showed up at their door. Based on insider trading and key personnel movements over the past two years, I just cannot see it," he wrote in a blog post last week. I agree.

Accordingly, I'll be taking Fuqi as a speculative turnaround play, and China Eastern as a well-positioned, though also speculative, growth play in my Motley Fool CAPS portfolio.

What do you have to say about these companies? Other Chinese stocks? Log into CAPS today and let your voice be heard. You can also weigh in using the comments box below.

For more coverage of China and the region's best stock ideas, accept a 30-day guest pass to Motley Fool Global Gains. Jinpan International is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. China Finance Online is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is also a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is as sweet and smooth as Shanghai's Last Gentleman.


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