October 22, 2010 (Chinavestor) Investors in Asia hedged their bets before the weekend, sending both key Chinese indices lower on Friday. The Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) fell 131.9 points or 0.6% for the day while the Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) shed 8.5 points or 0.3%. Investors are concerned about the G-20 summit in Singapore where currency tensions are on the rise. Proposal to shrink trade imbalances via currency adjustments from Timothy Geithner, U.S. Treasury Secretary, hit a wall from China, irking U.S. officials. Additional concern for investors is good corporate earnings in one hand and dismal economic data in another.
Large cap HKEx-NYSE cross listed stocks felt the pain and closed lower for the week. China Telecom NYSE:CHA) (HKG:0728) fell 2.6% followed closely by Sinopec Corp. (NYSE:SNP) (HKG:0386) and China Life Insurance (NYSE:LFC) (HKG:2628).Aluminum Corp. of China (NYSE:ACH) (HKG:2600), the third largest aluminum maker in the world, shed 1.0% in Hong Kong following news that China is going to sell 96,000 tons of the metal from state reserves. But airliners were mixed; China Southern Airlines (NYSE:ZNH) (HKG:1055) rose 2.45% while smaller rival China Eastern Airlines (NYSE:CEA) (HKG:0670) fell 0.9%.
On a corporate side, Baidu.com Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) reported better-than-expected financials sending its shares higher before the opening bell.
Timothy Chan, CFO of Ping An Insurance (HKG:2318), China's second largest insurer, spoke about dismal investment returns in 2010 during the company's interim results conference. News sent insurers tumbling in Shanghai. A-shares of China Life Insurance (NYSE:LFC) (SHA:602628) fell -2.7% while China Pacific Insurance (SHA:601601) became the worst among the 50 largest Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) components with a 3.7% fall.
Index futures point to a lower open before 7:00 A.M. this morning. Rising currency tensions sent world markets lower, pressuring U.S. indices at the moment. Baidu.com Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU), China's largest search engine, reported profits doubled on strong revenue growth, beating expectations. It appears that growth in bottom line was primarily driven by advertisement revenue growth and secondarily by grabbing market share from Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG). S.L. Chen, one of the most infulential investment banker on Wall Street reflected about Baidu.com Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) in his column saying that BIDU, "a Chinese-language internet search provider, showed an annual growth of revenues of over 100% and earnings exceeding 150% over the past 5 years. Reflecting such phenomenal performances, its stock price surged from slightly over $4 (adjusted for the 10-for-1 stock split in May 2010) to the high of $107 recently over the same period of time." Participation
If components of the Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) can serve as a proxy for Chinese ADR trading, outlook is good for China Southern Airlines (NYSE:ZNH) but Sinopec (NYSE:SNP), China Life Insurance (NYSE:LFC) and Aluminum Corp. of China (NYSE:ACH) is expected to fall.