What happened

Shares of China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), China Telecom (NYSE:CHA), and China Unicom (NYSE:CHU), the top telecommunications companies in China, were all rising today after the New York Stock Exchange reversed an earlier decision to have the tech stocks delisted from the exchange. 

China Mobile's shares were up 9.1%, while China Telecom had gained 8.7% and China Unicom had popped 13.6% as of 10:56 a.m. EST.

So what 

The NYSE said in a brief statement that "In light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities" the exchange "no longer intends to move forward with the delisting action" that it had announced around the New Year's holiday.  

A red line graph on a light blue background.

Image source: Getty Images.

NYSE had started the delisting process for the telecoms because of a government order that was signed by President Donald Trump back in November that prohibits Americans from investing in Chinese companies that the U.S. government has labeled as supportive to the Chinese military. 

Trump's executive order says that the People's Republic of China "exploits United States investors to finance the development and modernization of its military." 

More than 35 companies, including China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, fall under this designation. According to the order, investors would have had to start selling their shares of the Chinese telecoms on Jan. 11 and would have had until November to sell all of their holdings.  

NYSE's reversal means that American investors can still buy shares and hold the companies' securities, at least for now. That news made investors optimistic about the Chinese telecom's today, causing the share prices of each one to jump. 

But even with the gains made by the companies today, shares of China Mobile are down 29%, China Telecom has fallen 30%, and China Unicom has tumbled 32% over the past 12 months.  

Now what 

NYSE concluded its statement saying that it "will continue to evaluate the applicability" of President Trump's executive order and how it relates to the listing status of the companies. This means that today's decision to continue to allow the companies to be listed on the exchange may not be the final one. 

In response, China Mobile said in a press release that it "will continue to pay close attention to the development of related matters."

With NYSE's back-and-forth decision, investors are left wondering whether China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom could potentially be on the chopping block again. This uncertainty doesn't bode well for individual or institutional investors who are trying to decide if they should keep their shares or unload them altogether. All of which means investors may want to proceed with caution when considering buying up these Chinese telecoms right now. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.