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China Stock Roundup: Baidu Beats, PetroChina, CNOOC Disappoint

Markets gained over a holiday-shortened week despite concerns about the health of China’s economy. Markets were closed on Monday due to the Labor Day holiday. The Shanghai Composite Index gained on Tuesday following speculation that the government will take additional steps to boost investors’ confidence in the stock market. The benchmark index closed nearly unchanged on Wednesday, failing to break above the key level of 3,000. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced on Thursday despite disappointing readings about China’s services sector.

Baidu, Inc. BIDU reported adjusted first-quarter 2016 earnings 91 cents per share, which exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 78 cents supported by higher revenues. CNOOC Ltd. CEO reported first-quarter 2016 total revenue of 24.64 billion yuan (US$3.8 billion), down 30.7% year over year.

Last Week’s Developments

Last Friday, the Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.1% as investors remained wary ahead of the Labor Day holiday. Additionally, commodity prices remained volatile and an increase in bond defaults weighed on the risk taking ability of investors. Meanwhile, stocks in Hong Kong declined following disappointing results from major Chinese energy companies and losses taken by U.S. stocks.

The CSI 300 declined 0.1% and lost 0.6% over the week. The Shanghai Composite index moved 0.7% lower over the same period and lost 2.2% during April. These losses come after stocks gained 12% during March and the yuan surged by the most in six years following an increase in new credit.

Encouraging data on industrial output and retail sales have led to speculations that further stimulus measures may not be forthcoming in the near future. The Hang Seng declined by 1.5% on Friday, its largest loss in three weeks. This reduced the index’s monthly gains to 1.4%. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index moved 1.3% lower on Friday.

Markets and the Economy This Week

Markets were closed on Monday due to the Labor Day holiday. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.9% on Tuesday, its highest increase since Mar 30 following speculation that the government will take additional steps to boost investors’ confidence in the stock market. The country’s politburo stated that the country’s equity markets should grow in a “healthy” manner. Tech and consumer staples stocks led the gainers.

This was the first gain for the benchmark index in four days. The CSI 300 increased 1.8% with all three of its industry groups clocking up gains. Sub-indexes of consumer staples and tech stocks increased by a minimum of 2.9%. The manufacturing index released by Caixin and Markit came in at 49.4 for April. Meanwhile, the official manufacturing index reading, released over the weekend, came in at 50.1.

The benchmark index closed nearly unchanged on Wednesday, declining by less than 0.1% and failing to break above the key level of 3,000. Investors continued to remain concerned about the state of the country’s manufacturing sector. The CSI 300 declined, falling 0.1%. Most industry sectors suffered significant losses. Resources companies were among the major decliners following the implementation of stringent regulatory measures on commodities futures trading. 

Meanwhile, stocks in Hong Kong slumped to a one-month low. Investor sentiment was dampened by doubts over the economy’s health and a decline in commodity prices. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index moved lower for a third successive day, losing 0.6%. The Hang Seng also suffered losses and had fallen 6% from the level it touched on Apr 21 at that point. 

The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.2% on Thursday despite disappointing readings about China’s services sector. The Markit-Caixin gauge of services declined from 52.2 in March to 51.8 in April. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 0.8%. Also, the steps taken by regulators to cool down commodity markets seemed to be working.

Stocks in the News

Baidu, Inc. reported adjusted first-quarter 2016 earnings of 91 cents per share, which exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 78 cents, supported by higher revenues. Adjusted earnings per share exclude one-time items but include stock-based compensation expense.

Baidu reported revenues of $2.42 billion, up 17.8% year over year, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.05 billion. Mobile revenues accounted for 60% of Baidu’s first-quarter revenues as against 50% in the year-ago quarter.

For the second quarter of 2016, Baidu expects total revenue in the range of RMB20.110 billion (or $3.12 billion) to RMB20.580 billion (or $3.19 billion), representing a year-over-year increase of 21.3–24.2%. Analysts polled by Zacks expect revenues of $3.02 billion. 

CNOOC Ltd. reported first-quarter 2016 total revenue of 24.64 billion yuan (US$3.8 billion), down 30.7% year over year. This decline was mainly due to the decrease in international oil prices.

In the first quarter, CNOOC’s net production was 124.3 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBoe), up 5.1% from the year-ago level. The company’s average realized oil price decreased 39.1% year over year to $32.54 per barrel. During the first quarter, CNOOC’s capital expenditure totaled 9.69 billion yuan, down 39.2% from the year-earlier period.

PetroChina Co. Ltd. PTR announced first-quarter 2016 loss of RMB 13.8 billion, or RMB 0.08 per diluted share. In the year-ago quarter, the company had reported a profit of RMB 6.2 billion or RMB 0.03 per diluted share. Earnings per ADR came in at U.S$1.22 (exchange rate: US$1.00 = RMB 6.5, 1 ADR = 100 shares).

PetroChina’s total revenue for the quarter decreased 14% from the year-earlier quarter to RMB 352.8 billion. This is the first-ever quarterly loss reported by the integrated player from the time it was listed publicly in 2000.

PetroChina posted strong upstream output growth during the three months ended Mar 31, 2016. This Beijing-based company’s ‘Refining & Chemicals’ business reported an operating profit of RMB 14.7 billion, turning around from the year-earlier loss of RMB 5.1 billion.

Higher marketing activities along with improved margins helped the marketing segment to report a profit of RMB 426 million compared to a loss of RMB 2,591 million in the year-ago quarter.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. SNP or Sinopec reported first-quarter 2016 earnings per ADR of 81 cents. This was significantly higher than the figure of 18 cents reported in the same period last year. This was also higher than adjusted earnings of 69 cents per share reported in the fourth quarter of 2015. Sales, however, declined 13% year over year to 413.8 billion yuan. Oil and gas output slipped 2.7% to 114.7 million barrels over the same period.

But the highlight of first quarter results was the spectacular increase in profits. Net income increased from 2.17 billion reported in Mar 2015 ($1.03 billion) to 6.66 billion yuan. According to Sinopec, the rise in profits from refining activities outweighed losses from upstream operations.

Additionally, China’s government had set a floor for oil prices in January. This was seen as a step to boost domestic energy companies and curb pollution. According to research company ICIS China, this helped pushed domestic refining margins to $16 a barrel during the first quarter, representing a 45% increase from the year ago period.

TAL Education Group XRS reported adjusted first-quarter 2016 earnings of 25 cents per share, lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 45 cents. This is significantly lower than the 79 cents reported in the year-ago period. It is also well below adjusted earnings of 51 cents reported in the fourth quarter of 2015.

TAL Education Group reported revenues of $161 million, declining marginally by 3% from the same period last year. Additionally, revenues were also slightly lower than the $154 million reported in fourth quarter 2015.

For the fiscal year ended Feb 29, 2016, TAL Education reported revenues of $ 619.9 million, which represents a 42.9% improvement on a yearly basis. During this period, total student enrollments increased by 54.6% on a yearly basis.

Performance of Most Actively Traded US-listed Chinese Stocks

The table given below shows the price movements of 10 Chinese companies with the highest three-month average trading volume on U.S. exchanges. Price movements over the last five days and during the last six months have been included.

Ticker

Last 5 Day’s Performance

6-Month Performance

BABA

-0.6%

-11.2%

BIDU

-5.1%

-10.9%

CTRP

-4.3%

-11.8%

EDU

-1.1%

+40%

EJ

+0.3%

+10.9%

JD

-3.9%

-15.9%

JMEI

-2.8%

-38%

LFC

-7.5%

-40.4%

SFUN

+14.2%

-12.7%

TSL

-9.4%

-13.6%

Next Week’s Outlook:

Despite gains made by markets over the week, concerns have emerged over the state of the economy once again. Disappointing results from energy stocks have also had an impact, especially on mainland shares traded in Hong Kong. At the same time, steps taken by regulators to control speculation in commodity futures have had their desired impact.

Several crucial economic reports are scheduled for release in the days ahead. This includes data on trade, forex reserves, new loans, FDI, inflation and money supply. These are likely to influence the direction of markets to a significant extent over the next week.

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BAIDU INC (BIDU): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CHINA PETRO&CHM (SNP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CNOOC LTD ADR (CEO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PETROCHINA ADR (PTR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
TAL EDUCATN-ADR (XRS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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