The wealthiest man in Asia, Li Ka-Shing, is skittish about China’s markets, according to Bloomberg News. Last week, Li said that China’s stocks “must be a bubble.”“As a Chinese, I’m worried about the stock market in China,” the Hong Kong entrepreneur said.
Li joins the chorus of concern that includes the voices of Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank, and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who noted economic “problems” facing the country.
The CSI 300, the benchmark in China, has gained 85% this year, compared to a 5.2% gain in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Iindex. CSI valuations are at 43 times earnings estimates, compared to 16 times for Hang Seng.
“Domestic investors are getting too sanguine about investing in the market,” said Teo Joo Wah of Fullerton Fund Investment, part of Singapore’s state-owned Temasek Holdings.
May 8th marked a recordbreaking number of new investment brokerage accounts being opened to purchase mainland Chinese stocks and mutual funds, with 385,121 new accounts. Every day, there are hundreds of thousands more. “You have to be cautious when you see that many investments being opened,” Teo said.
Li’s comments set off a flurry of trading. “Mr. Li has a reputation of making the right calls,” said Kenny Tang, an associate director at Hong Kong-based Tung Tai Securities. “But I don’t think his comment will trigger a panic sell-off. It will probably remind people to be more cautious and alert,” said Tang.
With China’s stocks now among the most expensive in the work, both Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse analysts talking about a “correction.” The government has vowed to try to curtail the pace of growth to avoid a bubble, and the central bank said it is watching inflation carefully.