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China stocks end 2009 on a high note

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new_year2Dec. 31, 2009 (Chinavestor) It's hard to imagine a better end to a great year then this: Chinese stocks advanced in Asia, index futures point to a higher open, and as I look out of my office window snow is covering the Housatonic river bank. I said a great year because despite historic lows in March U.S. indices recovered ending the year 20% higher. When it comes to Chinese stocks 2009 was an excellent year - especially if you missed out on the 2008 disaster. The Hang Seng Index advanced +375.88 points or +1.75% on Thursday to 21,872.50 at the close. While the index is far from the 30,000 peak it touched briefly in 2008, the 52% return in 2009 is the best in a decade excluding 2007. An indication about the strength of the rally today is that only four components of the forty four member Hang Seng Index fell while forty advanced. China Mobile (HKG:0941) (NYSE:CHL) was the best performing NYSE-HKEx cross-listed blue chip with a 3.6% advance in HK, followed by a 2.3% rise of CNOOC Ltd. (HKG:0883) (NYSE:CEO). An ETF to watch on Thursday is the Morgan Stanley China Fund (NYSE:CAF) - see our coverage at the second part of this report.

The most important barometer of the Mainland's stock exchanges, the Shanghai Composite index, advanced +14.54 points or +0.45% on Thursday ending the year  at 3,277.14 points. The index is far off 2008 highs of over 6,000 points but the +79.98% advance in 2009 qualifies it to be among the top three in the world for 2009.

American listed Chinese ADRs were almost as good as their Asian counterparts in 2009. But index heavy weight China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) kept the China ADR Index, calculated by Chinavestor, at bay advancing "only" 25.4% for the year.  Looking ahead we expect China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) and oil companies to do well besides smaller cap momentum China stocks.

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The sudden drop of the Morgan Stanley Index (NYSE:CAF) yesterday is in sharp contrast to the direction of the index it tracks, the Shanghai Composite, as the overbought indicator testifies. This implies that there is significant upside for the CAF on the short run - or we're out of touch with what's been happening to this China ETF. I make a request to the audience to comment on this issue. The Chinese real estate ETF (NYSE:TAO) has been under performing, just making a case for value buyers.

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