Midday Wrap: Chinese Internet Stocks Left Out In Cold

Biotech mergers and improving home sales heated up U.S. markets Monday. But Chinese Internet stocks were left out in the cold.

Asia was a disaster, but $SPY futures green for now with $VXX showing weakness. $AZN gets a boost on M&A rumor, with $PFE up nicely too.

— Olive Darragh (@Zolio) Apr. 28 at 09:36 AM

The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq were all in the green after big pharma kicked off merger Monday with two major offers. Pfizer, $PFE, confirmed early this morning that it renewed its $100 billion bid for AstraZeneca late last week. A few hours later, Forest Labs, $FRX, announced plans to buy Furiex Pharmaceuticals, $FURX, for as much as $1.5 billion.

Both offers were a significant premium over Friday’s closing price, giving investors reason to believe that biotech valuations are not bubbly, as many argued last month.

Home sales data, released at ten, also gave investors reasons to be bullish. The National Association of Realtors said that contracts to buy pre-owned homes rose 3.4% in March—the first gain in nine months. The growth topped economists’ calls for a 1% rise. Housing data is considered a bellwether for broader economic growth since many Americans’ net worth is tied to the value of their homes.

$SPY Lots of bullish news today, other than Russia sanctions. Will be interesting to see if market holds onto gains. it better.

— 6killer (@6killer) Apr. 28 at 10:37 AM

But the StockTwits’ heat map wasn’t all green. In fact, tech had a glaring red splotch filled with the names of Chinese Internet companies, such as $SOHU, $CYOU, $YOKU and $BIDU. Disappointing earnings and a report that China had banned streaming of popular U.S. television shows weighed on the sector.

Beijing-based Web portal Sohu.com revealed an unexpected quarterly loss Monday of $79 million, or $2.05 per share, for the first three months of the year. The company attributed the loss to increased expenses to promote and expand its mobile business and games unit. Revenues rose 19% to $365 million in the quarter. Sohu shares fell nearly 7% by 11a.m. Management forecast a loss in the current quarter of between $48 million and $52 million.

China-based game developer ChangYou, $CYOU, also fell after announcing earnings. ChangYou posted a $19.5 million loss and said revenues fell 7% from the prior quarter to $180.8 million.

Baidu, one of the biggest online players in China, was the hardest hit Monday. Shares fell 6% by 11a.m. Monday.

$SOHU price action in early going post #earnings not good – just like all others – caution $BIDU ; not chasing $YOKU Alibaba news

— Anacott Steel (@BPGAG) Apr. 28 at 09:20 AM

Some investors argued that the Chinese Internet sell-off was overdone. They noted that China is not new to censoring online activities.

$BIDU Chinese censoring…. That's a shock… Buy the dip.

— Mark Holder (@StoneFoxCapital) Apr. 28 at 11:07 AM

And there was some good news in the sector. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that will go public later this year in U.S. markets to the tune of $160+ billion, and a private equity firm founded by Alibaba chairman Jack Ma announced they would acquire an 18.5% stake in Youku for $1.22 billion. The price is a significant premium to Friday’s close.

$YOKU Alibaba and Yunfeng are paying $30.50 per American Depositary Receipt, or a 26.3% premium to Youku Tudou's close on Friday of $24.14.

— E (@DrunkenMonkey) Apr. 28 at 10:43 AM

But, even Yoku investors aggressively sold the news. The stock fell nearly 7% by 11:15 a.m.

$YOKU I'm no genius but isn't this alibaba deal good news? If someone gave me a billion dollars for my company, prices would be going up

— Tony L (@TonyCL) Apr. 28 at 10:58 AM


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