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China Stocks: Price vs. Fundamentals

BEIJING ( TheStreet) -- New Energy Systems (NEWN.OB) announced Friday record revenues and EPS for the quarter ended March 31. In comparison to last year, revenues increased 753% and gross profit increased by more than 800%. EPS increased by more than 300%.

How did the stock react? It fell by nearly 4% on moderate volume solely due to the overall negative sentiment in the market. Contrast this to China Wind Systems (CWS) which was lucky enough to announce very positive guidance on a strong day in the market. The stock jumped as much as 25% as investors cheered the results and the strong market further fueled the upswing.

Both of the stocks highlight the current fact that individual company fundamentals are now taking a back seat to overall market sentiment in determining stock prices. I feel that this creates an opportunity to occasionally pick up value stocks on the cheap when they trade down for no reason other than market sentiment.

NEWN's 4% drop is a very good example. The company re-affirmed full year guidance at $1.23 earnings per share (excluding non cash charges). This puts the company on a PE of about six times guided earnings despite tremendous growth with a high degree of earnings visibility. Assuming full year EPS of $1.23 breaks down to about $0.31 per quarter. Yet NEWN's $.037 was about 20% higher than that. This over-performance is quite a notable fact given that the first quarter is typically the slowest quarter of the year in China due to two weeks of Chinese New Year holidays.

Management has a history of being conservative with projections and then over-delivering on results. They have already repeatedly and prominently communicated the $1.23 number so I am of the opinion that they are quite certain of meeting or beating it. Based on the first quarter numbers, I am starting to suspect a reasonable chance of NEWN beating this $1.23 number for the year which would place the current PE ratio somewhere in the 5-6 range. For a company with this type of growth and which has stated it needs no external funding, this is a bargain, especially compared to other battery comparables which traded in the mid-teens. The catalyst for a big move upwards will be when the stock uplists to the Nasdaq which could still take some time given that there are still some required board changes that need to happen.
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