Wednesday's Asia Stocks Recap
Asian markets advanced Wednesday following cues from the U.S. markets after the Federal Reserve cut its key interest rate by 75 basis points, sparking a huge rally on Wall Street. On Wednesday, China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 92.71 points, or 2.53%, at 3,761.61. Shares in Hong Kong advanced with the Hang Seng Index closed up 482.33 points, or 1.4%, to 21,866.94, rebounding from Monday's 1000-plus point decline.
Also helping shares in China's mainland was a rumor that the government might intervene in the falling market by cutting the stock stamp duty. The rumor wasn't confirmed among the trading community and the government wasn't offering up any comments on the situation.
China's premiere advertising company Focus Media (FMCN) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $68 million, or 52 cents a share, vs. Wall Street estimates of 48 cents a share. Total revenue jumped 171% to $184.6 million, vs. $68 million a year ago. The company said the strong results were due to strong Internet ad revenue and a rise in digital out-of-home ad revenue. Focus Media forecasted full-year revenue to come in between the range of $900 million to $930 million and adjusted earnings between $280 million and $300 million, or $2.06 to $2.21 per share. Wall Street estimates are for revenue of $832.9 million and a per-share profit of $2.08 for the year. Despite the strong results Wall Street sold the stock off 11% Wednesday to $33.22 on more than 5 times average daily volume.
Chinese financial media company Xinhua Finance Media (XFML) ripped 34% higher after the company announced that two of its Fortune China financial TV programs, "Fortune China Weekly" and "Fortune Celebrity" have expanded landing coverage to a total of 80 terrestrial TV channels across 24 of China's 31 provinces. ADR shares of XFML finished up 69 cents at $2.71 on heavy volume.China's leading mobile phone carrier China Mobile (CHL) reported a 31% rise in fourth-quarter net profits due to strong growth from new customer acquisitions and new business and airtime usage. Full-year profits jumped 32% to 87.1 billion yuan and sales climbed 21% to 357 billion yuan. The company also announced plans to pay a full-year dividend of 1.997 Hong Kong dollars a share for 2007, up from 1.383 HK dollars for the prior year, and a special dividend of 10.1 HK cents. ADR shares of CHL finished 6% lower to $67.21. Advancing Wednesday were shares of retail drugstore chain China Nepstar Chain Drugstore (NPD). The largest drugstore chain in China reported a 231.5% rise in fourth-quarter income and a 141.1% rise in operating income. Gross margins for the fourth quarter jumped 48.5% compared with 38% for 2006. ADR shares for NPD advanced 2% to $11.53 on twice the average trading volume. Leading the decliners among Chinese ADRs Wednesday were NetEase.com (NTES), falling 13% to $16.25; Baidu.com (BIDU), dropping 10% to $220.21; China Southern Airlines (ZNH), losing 9% to $35.07; and Guangshen Railway (GSH), finishing lower by 9% to $25.41. Be sure to check out the Far East Portfolio at Stockpickr.com every night to find out which stocks in India and China are making big moves and announcing major news.
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