In a rough year for emerging markets stocks and exchange traded funds, the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI) tumbled more than 15% in 2015. Now, the Hang Seng Index, the benchmark equity gauge of Chinese stocks trading in Hong Kong, is at a critical technical juncture.
Over 260 U.S.-listed ETFs feature some exposure to China with marquee names including the iShares China Large-Cap ETF, which is the largest China-related ETF that tracks Chinese companies listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. H-shares, or the Chinese stocks trading in Hong Kong are some of the least expensive stocks in the world and FXI has a price-to-earnings ratio below that of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. [Cheap EM ETFs]
The Hang Seng, Hong Kong’s benchmark equity gauge, “now trades at 6.9 times earnings, lower than every benchmark index apart from Zambia, the southern African country facing a economic crisis, and Laos, which only has four listed equities. The Hang Seng China gauge is valued at the biggest discount versus the MSCI All-Country World Index since 2003, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Some market observers expect the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect program to bolster the H-shares market as mainland investors shift into cheaper Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies. FXI allocates over half its weight to financial services stocks.
“The Hang Seng stock market index and the S&P 500 Index peaked together in 2007. And low and behold, they might have done the exact same once again in 2015. What’s even more interesting is that they also hit important price lows together in 2009,” according to See It Market. “Of late the Hang Seng index has broken 35-year support and is now testing the underside of this broken trend line at point.”