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Friday, April 1st, 2011

“Stock halted.”  Those words can trigger uncertainty or hope, but increasingly they foster fear, at least for those who play speculative Chinese names.

This makes back-to-back editions of pix that deal with perceptions and reality in China.  (The former, on unusual copper angles, is worth checking out if you haven’t viewed it.)  It’s almost forty years since Nixon visited the country, although no one from that day would believe what an economic powerhouse it has become.  Still, it appears that things there aren’t always what they seem to be.

By way of example, I offer the quartet of stocks above, all halted of late, among the reverse mergers and other Chinese wonders that now look like something other than that which they were purported to be.  CCME and CAGC have not traded since March 11; the other two made it to March 24.

The largest of the stocks, China MediaExpress (CCME), topped out in January at well over $800 million in market capitalization, and is still on the books for more than half of that.  It operates television displays on inter-city express buses.  “There are a lot of buses in China,” I’m sure the pitch went that inspired the frenzied trading.

The chart graphs the total return since the end of June 2010.  That is, until the stocks trade again, if they ever do.  (Chart:  Bloomberg terminal.)