Investors sell India, buy China

It’s all about the momentum.

With Chinese stocks surging and Indian stocks falling global investors are pulling money out of Mumbai and shifting into China, South Korea and Taiwan.

It seems investors can’t get out fast enough. Over the last 14 trading days investors dumped $2 billion of stock, according to depositary data. Since March, the Indian stock market has dropped 12%.

“Concerns over retrospective taxes and the slow pace of land acquisition reforms that have held up $300 billion worth of corporate investments” has sent portfolio managers looking for greener pastures, according to Reuters on Friday.

The best performing Asian equity index, Shanghai’s Composite Index, is up nearly 30% year-to-date. Chinese stocks are hitting seven-year highs because of a flood of liquidity from government stimulus plans. And more is expected. Even with two interest rate cuts since November, China’s central bank is expected to cut some more to support the country’s flagging economic growth. Currently, China’s much cheaper Hong Kong-listed H-shares are preferred over the mainland-listed A-shares.

Among the top investors pulling out of India, Credit Suisse cut is view on Indian equity to neutral from outperform, while lifting Korean equities to outperform from neutral.

JP Morgan also sold Indian stocks to buy into South Korea and Taiwan. Both these countries have a positive outlook on corporate earnings and the economies’ large current account surpluses, which will protect them the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates, said Reuters.

Three Australian fund managers told Reuters they had reduced their Indian exposure in favor of China, citing the need for more clarity over the proposed minimum alternate tax (MAT). India recently sent out notices to investment firms demanding MAT payments on past capital gains to the tune of 6.02 billion rupees ($94.6 million).

Rather than deal with this, top investors are just saying “so long” to India.

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