Any question that there is a full on mania going for China stocks (and to a lesser extent, Indian ones) should be answered by a quick look at the 15 biggest gainers on the New York Stock Exchange for last week. Of the 15, exactly two are U.S. companies -- mining and transportation concern AMCOL
The smallest gainer among these equities, coming in at 16.6%, is the closed-end JF China Region Fund
At the other end of the Burma Road, India did not have to wonder whether it would be invited to the party. Domestic telecommunications carrier MTNL
The knowledge that China and India are the next big things has reached the masses, and they're rushing to the party. With the exception of Satyam, all of the Chinese and Indian companies represented above were until very recently wholly state-owned entities, and are still largely so. This is an enormous amount of money that has jumped onto the train of what sounds like the next sure thing -- a billion Chinese people, a billion Indians, rising demand (especially that for oil and gas), industrial revolution, and so on. All of the drivers for growth are true in the abstract, but the stories on the ground are substantially more complicated. What we have here is the piling on by people who think something really good is bound to happen.
I'm sure if you ask the folks in Beijing and Delhi, they'll tell you something good just did happen, to the tune of some $40 billion in market cap gains for their state-controlled companies in a single week. Marco Polo came to China to seek fortune and trade -- little did he know that eventually he'd be able to do the same thing from the comforts of the New York Stock Exchange.