Despite scores of calls that the market is inexpensive on a valuation basis, China ETFs have brought investors more disappointment than profits this year.
Stocks in the world’s second-largest economy have been stung by disappointing economic growth that has lead some major banks to question China’s ability to deliver on its 2013 GDP growth target of 7.5%. Then there was the SHIBOR mess in June that China’s interbank lending rates soaring, resulting in liquidity fears in what is one of the world’s largest banking systems. [SHIBOR Woes Could Slam These ETFs]
Even with all the havoc, some China ETFs have been pleasant surprises in 2013. No, not the iShares FTSE China 25 ETF (NYSEArca: FXI), which even with a recent bounce is still down 19% this year. The real leadership among China ETFs is coming from the Guggenheim China Technology ETF (NYSEArca: CQQQ) and the rival Global X NASDAQ China Technology ETF (NasdaqGS: QQQC). [Good Entry Point For China ETFs?]
The Global X offering, the smaller of the two funds, is up 18.4% year-to-date while the Guggenheim fund, also the more heavily traded of the pair, has gained 17.3%. Even more impressive about those performances is that the ETFs have soared while Baidu (NasdaqGM: BIDU), the Google (NasdaqGM: GM) of China and perhaps the most recognizable Chinese tech name to U.S. investors, is up just 6.5%. Baidu is CQQQ’s second-largest holding with an allocation of 10%.
CQQQ has also gained 4.4% in the past week as Chinese tech stocks have gotten a lift from industry consolidation, both announced deals and rumors, reports Ben Levisohn for Barron’s. Earlier this week, Baidu said it will buy app store 91 Wireless and there are rumors that Internet portal Qihoo 360 Technology (NasdaqGM: QIHU) will acquire the Sogou brand from Sohu.com (NasdaqGM: SOHU). Sohu is almost 4% of CQQQ’s weight.
Sohu is up 4.6% in the past week, which sounds good until the gain is compared to the 9.1% tacked on by Youku Tudou (NYSE: YOKU). That gain pales in comparison to the 15% surge for Sina (NasdaqGM: SINA) in the past five trading days. Sina and Youku combine for almost 10% of CQQQ’s weight.