Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Climate Change Mass Extinction - Birds, Bees and Bugs: Going Going Gone - Richard_Mills
2.A Purrrfect Gold Price Setup! - Peter_Degraaf
3.Who Finances America's Borrowing? Recession Indicator for Independent Thinkers Part 2 - F_F_Wiley
4.America’s One-sided Domestic Financial War - Raymond_Matison
5.Gold Price Summer Doldrums - Zeal_LLC
6.Two Key Events Will Unleash Gold - Jim_Willie_CB
7.Billionaire Schools Teacher in NAFTA Trade Talks - Richard_Mills
8.Get Out Of Crypto Cannabis Bubble Before It Pops and Move Into Bargain Basement Miners - Jeb_Handwerger
9.Stock Market Could Pullback for 1-2 weeks, But Medium Term Bullish - Troy_Bombardia
10.G7 Chaos, Central Banks and US Fed Will Drive Stock Prices This Week - Chris_Vermeulen
Last 7 days
Soybean Price Hits 9 Year Low Due to Trade War - 24th Jun 18
Small Cap Stocks, Technology and Pharma To Drive A Renewed Market Rally - 24th Jun 18
Gerald Celente: Why You Still Need Guns, Gold, and a Getaway Plan... - 23rd Jun 18
Cheap Gold Stocks Bottom Basing - 23rd Jun 18
A Trade War Won’t Be Good for the US Dollar - 23rd Jun 18
SPX/Gold, Long-term Yields & Yield Curve 3 Amigos Update - 22nd Jun 18
Gold - How Long Can This Last? - 22nd Jun 18
Dow Has Fallen 8 days in a Row. Medium-long Term Bullish for Stocks - 22nd Jun 18
Trouble Spotting Market Trends? This Can Help - 22nd Jun 18
Financial Markets Analysis and Trend Forecasts 2018 - A Message from Nadeem Walayat - 21st Jun 18
SPX Bouncing Above Support - 21st Jun 18
Things You Need To Know If You Want To Invest In Bitcoin Now - 21st Jun 18
The NASDAQ’s Outperformance vs. the Dow is Very Bullish - 21st Jun 18
Warning All Investors: Global Stock Market Are Shifting Away From US Price Correlation - 20th Jun 18
Gold GLD ETF Update… Breakdown ? - 20th Jun 18
Short-term Turnaround in Bitcoin Might Not Be What You Think - 19th Jun 18
Stock Market’s Short Term Downside Will be Limited - 19th Jun 18
Natural Gas Setup for 32% Move in UGAZ Fund - 19th Jun 18
Magnus Collective To Empower Automation And Artificial Intelligence - 19th Jun 18
Trump A Bull in a China Shop - 19th Jun 18
Minor Car Accident! What Happens After You Report Your Accident to Your Insurer - 19th Jun 18
US Majors Flush Out A Major Pivot Low and What’s Next - 18th Jun 18
Cocoa Commodities Trading Analysis - 18th Jun 18
Stock Market Consolidating in an Uptrend - 18th Jun 18
Russell Has Gone Up 7 Weeks in a Row. EXTREMELY Bullish for Stocks - 18th Jun 18
What Happens Next to Stocks when Tech Massively Outperforms Utilities and Consumer Staples - 18th Jun 18
The Trillion Dollar Market You’ve Never Heard Of - 18th Jun 18
The Corruption of Capitalism - 17th Jun 18
North Korea, Trade Wars, Precious Metals and Bitcoin - 17th Jun 18
Climate Change and Fish Stocks – Burning Oxygen! - 17th Jun 18
A $1,180 Ticket to NEW Trading Opportunities, FREE! - 16th Jun 18
Gold Bullish on Fed Interest Rate Hike - 16th Jun 18
Respite for Bitcoin Traders Might Be Deceptive - 16th Jun 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

5 "Tells" that the Stock Markets Are About to Reverse

Can Investors Really Trust Chinese Stocks?

Companies / China Stocks Dec 14, 2012 - 12:15 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Companies

Martin Hutchinson writes: At first glance, Chinese stocks that trade on U.S. exchanges are dirt cheap. But the truth is you need to take a long hard look before you leap.

Behind the curtain you could find that they've cooked the books.

In fact, last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused the Chinese affiliates of "the Big Four" auditing companies of breaking securities laws after they refused to produce the "work papers" related to accounting fraud investigations at nine Chinese companies.


Naturally, they all cried foul.

According to auditors from Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers producing this paperwork is illegal under Chinese law-hence the stalemate.

It's a dispute that highlights the cultural clash between the Chinese need for secrecy and U.S. anti-fraud efforts that demand more transparency.

The bottom line in this case, though, is quite a bit more simple: If there's no way to ensure the accounting practices at Chinese companies are candid, investors should completely avoid them.

Whether it's here or abroad, you should never invest in anything where you can't trust the numbers.

Chinese small caps are just the latest example now that this brewing accounting scandal seems to be coming to a head. The SEC has filed fraud allegations against 40 individuals or companies.

How the Tables Have Turned On Chinese Stocks
The boom in Chinese companies listing on the U.S. markets began in 2006, and at first appeared attractive to both sides.

China was the world's greatest growth economy. With lots of fast-growing small companies, U.S. investors saw Chinese companies as a way to tap into that growth. Valuations were attractive, and by 2010 over 600 Chinese companies had done a U.S. financing, either through an IPO or through a "reverse merger" into a U.S. shell company.

Some of these companies, such as Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU), the Chinese equivalent of Google, appear to have been solid. Indeed, Baidu's net income is expected to rise about 60% this
year.

What's more, even with the accounting scandals, the total market capitalization of Chinese ADRs remains close to $1 trillion.

But once the first small-cap Chinese company, Sino Forest, was shown to have falsified its accounts, market doubt spread like wildfire and the share prices of many small Chinese companies collapsed.

Since then, 50 China-based companies have been delisted from U.S. exchanges, whereas others can be bought for a small fraction of net asset value and at a 1-2 times multiple of earnings -- if the net asset values and earnings are correct.

When trouble first appeared, investors relied on the companies' auditors - after all if KPMG, Deloitte or one of the other "Big 4" accounting firms had audited the figures, they could be assumed to be correct, right?

That meant the doubts were concentrated on Chinese companies with second-tier auditors, and you had the amazing spectacle of Chinese companies chasing round after new auditors every year, with each auditor resigning as soon as he faced the daunting task of preparing accounts that would satisfy the SEC.

Who Can You Trust?
However, it has become increasingly clear that "Big 4" accountants are little protection to the Western investor.

While their Chinese affiliates are nominally in partnership with the rest of the global practice, in reality they are subject to political pressures in China that are impenetrable to outsiders.

As the recent hoo-hah has shown, when they are given the choice between offending some bigwig in China's Communist Party hierarchy and offending the SEC-- which can do little to force compliance provided the auditors do not personally set foot in the United States-- even the best Chinese auditor will always choose his local business.

The problem is that China itself remains a pretty corrupt society, ranked 80th of 176 countries on Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index.

While this still ranks it well ahead of India (94th) - let alone Russia (a startling 133rd) - it indicates the country is a difficult place to do business, and that distant U.S. investors may rank bottom on the list of forces which have to be placated.

China is not likely to allow the SEC proper access to the work of Chinese auditors - for one thing, a matter of sovereignty is involved.

Hence, in the long run we may well find Chinese companies de-listing from the U.S. or perhaps engaged in leveraged buyouts to eliminate the international investors. After all, if an honest and profitable company finds its shares consistently trade at half net asset value or less, there's not much to gain from a U.S. listing.

The Smart Way to Invest In China
For us as investors, that makes Chinese stocks too risky-particularly the small-caps.

Even deals sponsored by major houses, such as China New Boron Corporation (Nasdaq: BORN) introduced in 2010 by Goldman Sachs, can find themselves trading at a quarter of their issue price, even though based on the published figures the business has prospered mightily.

With the ubiquitous short-sellers active, even a completely honest Chinese company with good operations is unable to give its investors a solid holding.

The solution is to buy what my colleague Keith Fitz-Gerald calls "glocals" - global companies which have established themselves in China and built a business that offers exciting growth in the country's huge potential market.

Companies such as Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) give us a route to prosper from Chinese growth without worrying about Chinese accounting. You can be quite sure a company like Yum is on top of any problems in its Chinese business.

Globally, the Chinese accounting problem illustrates an important point.

Even when corrupt emerging markets appear to offer exciting opportunities, their corruption may prevent foreign individual investors from obtaining the returns they deserve.

Within the emerging market universe, you're best off concentrating on countries in the richer parts of East Asia, like Singapore, where growth is good and local standards of integrity are high.

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2012/12/14/can-you-really-trust-chinese-stocks/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2012 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules