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Investors Get a Jump on China Trade News

May 25, 2000|Tom Petruno

Some investors couldn't wait for the market to open today to react to the House of Representatives' approval of the historic China trade bill late Wednesday afternoon.

In after-hours trading Wednesday, buyers bid Chinadotcom (ticker symbol: CHINA) up to $31.25, after it gained 69 cents to $27 in regular Nasdaq trading.

Chinadotcom is a Hong Kong-based Internet services provider, which, like many firms, could conceivably benefit from a further opening of China's markets to U.S. and other foreign companies.

And like many "dot-com" shares worldwide, Chinadotcom trades for a fraction of its recent high, which was $78 in March.

Investors also bid up AsiaInfo Holdings (ASIA) in after-hours trading, where it reached $39--but that was after falling $7.50 to $35.13 in regular trading.

Could eager speculators, in the wake of the House vote, simply be looking for the most obvious China-related ticker symbols?

Many Chinese stocks trading on the New York Stock Exchange, meanwhile, are far below their 52-week highs and may get no lift from the House vote. The reason: Some of the companies may face tougher competition if China indeed opens its markets.

Jilin Chemical (JCC on the NYSE), a producer of basic chemicals, was unchanged at $6.50 on Wednesday and down from a 52-week high of $14.

Shanghai Petroleum (SHI) fell 31 cents to $15. It's down from a 52-week high of $25.50.

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