Sun Hung Kai Properties

Small investors eye bargains in SHKP

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2012, 12:00am

Just as many institutional investors dumped their shares in Sun Hung Kai Properties, some retail investors thought it an opportunity to make some quick money from bargain hunting in the stock. But analysts warn it may be too early to jump in.

SHKP shares rebounded for the first time yesterday since the company's stock resumed trading last Friday, following the ICAC's arrest a day earlier of the co-chairmen of the company, Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and his brother Raymond Kwok Ping-luen.

However, the reasons for the rebound remained doubtful, analysts said.

The stock closed 1.96 per cent higher at HK$96.25 on a turnover of HK$2.54 billion.

The stock traded slightly lower during the morning but shot up almost 3 per cent after the lunch break following news that the Kwok brothers planned to hold a press briefing later in the afternoon.

On Thursday, the Independent Commission Against Corruption arrested the brothers and Rafael Hui Si-yan, a former chief secretary, as part of an investigation into allegations of bribery and misconduct in public office.

Some retail investors quickly bought into the stock yesterday, perhaps hoping the Kwoks might clarify the situation.

'Some retail investors were encouraged by the news that the Kwok brothers will finally come out and say something and they hope something meant good news,' said a fund manager who asked not to be named. 'But if you ask professional investors such as the big institutions, they will tell you to remain cautious.'

In fact, some institutional investors have already sold down their holdings. BlackRock sold 439,000 shares of SHKP when the stock resumed trading on Friday. Yesterday, Charles Schwab Investment Management sold 200,000 shares, according to Bloomberg.

Brokers said institutional investors might have sold because of uncertainty over SHKP's corporate governance. It also remained unclear how long the ICAC investigation would take.

Louis Tse Ming-kwong, a director of VC Brokerage, attributed yesterday's rebound partly to short-selling coverage and hedging of some warrant trades rather than renewed confidence in the stock.

CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets' analyst Nicole Wong said in a report that investors should not try to look for bargains in the stock. 'We would caution that the dust in the SHKP-ICAC incident may take longer to settle,' she said.

Barclays Capital downgraded the stock to 'underweight' and set a new 12-month target price of HK$92.16.

The stock has lost 13 per cent since Friday.