At long last, investors in Chinese tech stocks caught a break this week.
From close of trading last week, to close of trading last night, here's where shares of several Chinese tech stocks landed:
- Baidu (BIDU 0.35%) rebounded 12.2%.
- NetEase (NTES -1.17%) bounced back 13.2%.
- Bilibili (BILI 4.42%) popped 16.5%.
- Baozun (BZUN -2.30%) was up 25.7%.
But why did this happen?
For months, shares of some of the biggest tech stocks in China have been under pressure from their own government, which has passed a slew of new laws aimed squarely at the tech sector -- antimonopoly laws to curb their market power, regulations against unfair competition, and on Monday, a new data privacy law to limit cross-border transfers of personal information.
All this bad news has kept a lid on tech stock valuations in China for months.
But with the announcement of the new data privacy law Monday, investors began to jump back into the Chinese pool, hoping that the storm is over and China has passed all the laws it had planned to pass to rein in rogue tech companies.
And maybe they're right. Although in earnings reports earlier this month, Baozun "missed earnings," both Baidu and Bilibili appear to have exceeded expectations, and published guidance that is at least close to (if not quite superior to) the targets Wall Street had set for them.
That being said, while I certainly understand the temptation to go bottom-fishing at the end of a sell-off, the sudden onslaught of legislation against Chinese tech companies by their own government does highlight the risks of investing in this sector of the stock market. Moreover, even if China is done shooting itself (and its investors) in the foot for now, there's still the U.S. to worry about.
On Tuesday, new SEC chairman Gary Gensler reiterated his agency's support for a plan, first announced under the Trump administration but apparently supported by the current one, to "strictly enforce a three-year deadline that requires Chinese firms to permit inspections of their financial audits" or suffer delisting from U.S. stock markets, reports Bloomberg.
For investors, it may already feel like a time bomb has gone off and blown up Chinese stocks. But here in the U.S., warns Gensler, "the clock is still ticking."