LDK Solar Co. and Trina Solar Ltd. led gains in Chinese equities traded in New York, sending the benchmark index to the highest level in two weeks, after a U.S. competitor said demand from Europe unexpectedly grew.
LDK, the world’s second-largest maker of wafers, surged the most in five months while Trina Solar, China’s fifth-largest solar-panel maker, jumped the most in four months after First Solar Inc. (FSLR) said it’s increasing production in its German factories. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. rose 1.4 percent to 91.28 at the close of trading in New York, the highest since May 29.
First Solar, the world’s largest maker of thin-film panels, will delay the close of the German plant to meet demand in Europe for its products, Brandon Mitchener, a spokesman for the Tempe, Arizona-based company, said yesterday by e-mail. LDK fell to a record low on June 4 while Trina has slumped 65 percent in the past 12 months on concern waning government support for solar energy is slowing demand for their products.
“First Solar’s comments fit in with what several Chinese companies have also been saying, which is that demand remains strong,” David Smith, the portfolio manager of the Gabelli Green Fund (SRIAX), said by phone from Purchase, New York. LDK and Trina “have been weak,” he said. “They’re probably best positioned to benefit from current conditions in the industry,” he added.
The iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund, the biggest Chinese exchange-traded fund in the U.S., advanced 2.2 percent to $33.52 while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) rose 1.2 percent to 1,324.18 as comments by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans that he would support measures to generate faster job growth in the world’s largest economy offset concern Europe’s debt crisis may worsen after Fitch Ratings downgraded 18 Spanish banks.
The drop provides investors with a “very good entry point for the Chinese market,” said Christian Deseglise, the New York-based managing director of HSBC Global Asset Management for the Americas. Deseglise said that consumer-focused Chinese stocks along with energy, material and financial companies are attractive “long-term investments.”
“We think the correction is behind us, and that the market has overreacted regarding Chinese stocks,” said Deseglise in an interview yesterday at Bloomberg offices in New York. “The exogenous risks are still there: Europe, low inter-bank liquidity, lots of volatility. So you’ve got to be able to ride the ride.”
LDK surged 17 percent to $2.13 and Trina climbed 8.3 percent to $6.64. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (YGE), China’s second-biggest solar-panel maker, added 5.4 percent, the most in two weeks, to $2.74.
The short-term increase in First Solar’s production is “due to unexpected order intake in Europe” while the “long-term trend remains downward” for the region, company spokesman Mitchener also said an interview yesterday.
LDK, the worst performer in 2012 on the Bloomberg China-US Equity Index, said in April that it cut 22 percent of its workforce after an oversupply of solar products resulted in slumping prices that generated record-low profit margins.
Trina, also citing depressed prices, last month reported a 37 percent year-on-year drop in first-quarter revenue, missing analyst estimates as its shipments declined.
China Eastern, AutoNavi
China Eastern Airlines Corp. (CEA) advanced to a one-month high after announcing plans to sell bonds worth 8.8 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) to purchase planes and replenish capital. The country’s second-largest carrier by passengers jumped 5 percent to $16.22.
AutoNavi Holdings Ltd. (AMAP), a Chinese provider of digital map and navigation services, rose 2.8 percent to $11.99, a one-month high, after Goldman Sachs analyst Sam Li said the Beijing-based company may become Apple Inc.’s map data provider in China.
“AMAP has been trying to expand its presence in the handset space, so this would be a good thing for them to consolidate their position in China,” Andy Yeung, a New York-based analyst for Oppenheimer & Co., said in a phone interview yesterday.
Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (KORS), the Hong Kong-based luxury-goods company that gets 95 percent of its sales from North America, jumped 7.6 percent to $41.10, the most in three weeks, after earnings and sales forecasts exceeded analysts’ estimates.
Ctrip.com International Ltd. (CTRP) extended its slide to 13 percent over three days as Mirae Asset Securities Hong Kong Ltd. downgraded China’s biggest online travel agency to hold from buy on June 11. Shares today fell 3 percent to $16.54.
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