April 12, 2011 (Chinavestor) China stock investors turned defensive in Hong Kong after Japan raised the severity rating of the nuclear accident in par with Chernobyl. The Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) tumbled 326.7 points or 1.4% in a broad sell-off. Most large cap stocks fell in Hong Kong boding ill for the iShares FTSE/Xinhua 25 China Index (NYSE:FXI), the most liquid Chinese ETF. But airliners bounced back off strongly as price of the crude continued to fell. China Southern Airlines (HKG:1055)(NYSE:ZNH), the largest Chinese carrier by fleet size, surged 7.2% while China Eastern Airlines (HKG:0670)(NYSE:CEA) jumped 6.9% for the day.
But investors on the Mainland shrugged off international news and focused on inflation and export-import data instead. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) eked out a 0.6 points or 0.0% gain as upstream oil companies advanced thanks to falling crude prices.
Petrochina Co. Ltd. (HKG:0857)(NYSE:PTR), the largest oil producer in China, fell the most among components of the Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI). CNOOC Ltd. (HKG:0883)(NYSE:CEO), China's offshore oil driller, shed 2.9% after ptrice of the crude fell below $100/barrel.
Looking at components of Chinese ETFs in Asia this morning, large cap proxy iShares FTSE/Xinhua 25 China Index (NYSE:FXI) is in the danger zone before the NYSE open. All but three of its 25 components fell in Hong Kong with China Telecom (HKG:0728) taking the lead after an analyst downgrade. But the sell-off was less broad among small caps on Tuesday. Stocks that fell outnumbered those that advanced three to one among the 162 members of the Guggenheim Small Cap China Fund (NYSE:HAO) on Tuesday.
Volatility was on the rise for small caps on Monday among Chinese ADRs as components of the Golden Dragon China Fund (NYSE:PGJ) testify. With large caps on the general retreat, small caps might offer some solace for China stock investors on Tuesday.