Shares of Chinese e-commerce company Pinduoduo (PDD -1.17%) were trading 16.4% higher as of 1:15 p.m. ET Friday, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. That gain followed reports that Chiina's government is moving to stimulate the country's economy, which had recently been slowed by -- among other things -- lockdowns aimed at curbing new outbreaks of COVID-19.
For shareholders, this move is a much-needed relief. As of the close Thursday, Pinduoduo stock had lost a third of its value just since the beginning of the year, and was down by more than 80% from its early 2021 high amid a rout for most Chinese consumer-tech stocks.
Since 2020, China's regulators have steadily cracked down on big e-commerce names such as DiDi, Alibaba, and Tencent in a sweeping effort to rein in companies that Beijing viewed as operating in ways that ran counter to the country's broad interests. Friday's policy statement at least partially implied that China would be ramping down those regulatory actions, among other deliberate efforts to give its economy a near-term jolt.
The message boosted many Chinese stocks, although it lifted Pinduoduo more than most others. China's Hang Seng Index and Shanghai Composite Index were up 4% and 2.4%, respectively, on Friday.
The sheer size of Friday's Pinduoduo gain is exciting, and broadly speaking, this surge in Chinese share prices may well mark the beginning of a long-awaited pivot for many of that nation's highest-profile stocks.
The fact is, however, it's too soon to confidently make such a call.
The pandemic is not over globally, and Beijing has demonstrated its commitment to its "zero COVID" policy by continuing to impose strict lockdowns in response to relatively small outbreaks in an effort to prevent them from expanding. At the same time, while Beijing may well ease up on its consumer-facing technology giants, the statement from China's Politburo Friday offered few specifics. Also, bear in mind that during the crackdown, regulatory actions appeared to be largely arbitrary, and the particular companies it targeted had little to no recourse. Nor is there any certainty that whatever moves are planned will ease the country's economic environment.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that we've seen strong rallies from many Chinese stocks -- Pinduoduo among them -- since early 2021. None of those snapped any of these tickers out of their longer-term downtrends.