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Gaining Fluency in Chinese Stocks

By Numer de Guia The Chinese economy has become the envy of the world -- and many observers think that the Middle Kingdom will continue its impressive performance. How can U.S. investors make a "pure play" on the China growth story?

Well, it's generally difficult to invest directly in China-domiciled companies, as few of them are traded on U.S. stock exchanges. The bulk of publicly traded Chinese outfits are listed on the Hong Kong exchange.

LOOKING "UNDER THE HOOD". However, that's not to say that interested investors shouldn't bother to get to know some of the most attractive China-based stocks. After all, a number of U.S. mutual funds invest in Chinese equities. And a savvy mutual-fund investor will want to know the names of the businesses that are "under the hood" in these funds -- especially if the stocks in question carry top S&P STARS rankings.

That's the theme of this week's screen. S&P's team of analysts who follow Asian equities, based in Singapore, not only examines company fundamentals but also assesses market factors, like the stocks' liquidity, degree of institutional ownership, etc., to determine their "investibility."

We screened the list of outfits followed by S&P Asian equities analysts for businesses incorporated in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan that carry S&P's highest investment recommendations: 4 STARS (accumulate) or 5 STARS (buy).

Uncovered were 27 names that investors in China funds might like to find in the "Top Holdings" section of the portfolios' semiannual reports:

S&P's top China plays


Aluminium Corp. of China

Beijing Datang Power Generation

BOC Hong Kong Holdings

Cathay Pacific Airways

Cheung Kong Holdings

China Eastern Airlines

China Intl. Marine Containers

China Mobile Hong Kong

China Resources Enterprises

China Southern Airlines


Denway Motors

Hang Lung Properties

Henderson Investment

Henderson Land Development

Hong Kong & China Gas

Huaneng Power Intl.

Hutchison Whampoa

Jiangxi Copper

Singamas Container Holdings

Sinopec Beijing Yanhua Petroleum

Sun Hung Kai Properties

Taiwan Semiconductor

Television Broadcasts Ltd.

United Microeletronics

Yanzhou Coal Mining

Zhejiang Expressway

De Guia is an analyst for Standard & Poor's Portfolio Services

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