Nov 13, 2015
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MSCI adds Alibaba, other U.S.-listed China shares to indexes

Nov 13, 2015

MSCI will add Alibaba Group, Baidu.com and a dozen other Chinese companies listed overseas to its emerging market index from Dec 1, a move reflective of the changing economic landscape that is likely to draw investments of $70 billion (46 billion pounds).

Alibaba, the world's biggest e-commerce company, is the largest of the 14 U.S.-listed Chinese stocks to be added to MSCI indexes. Along with internet firm Baidu Inc, it will increase the presence of technology companies in the investment benchmarks.


The changes were part of quarterly adjustments MSCI makes to its indexes, which it says are tracked by $9.5 trillion in assets. Until now, MSCI did not include U.S.-listed companies - like Alibaba - in its specific country indexes.

"This inclusion will be more reflective of the Chinese opportunity set with big IT and consumer names being added. That shows the shift in the centre of gravity from old China to new China," said Charlie Wilson, portfolio manager at Thornburg Investment Management in the United States.

Investors say information technology services companies are a stronger indicator of China's domestic consumption, an area of the economy set to grow as the country shifts away somewhat from manufacturing.

Analysts estimate the MSCI changes will trigger upto $70 billion to flow into these stocks over the next six months.

China's weighting in the MSCI Emerging Market (MSCI EM) index, which until now had only included Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong, will increase to more than 26 percent from just over 23 percent, analysts said.

The weight of technology stocks in the MSCI China index will double to 26 percent, while the share of financials and industrials will cede ground as the changes are made in two stages in November and May.

"The inclusion of these companies in global indexes will make these companies household names globally, which until now have been familiar to U.S. investors only," said Tobias Bland, chief executive of Enhanced Investments Products Limited in Hong Kong.

About a tenth of the potential $70 billion investment would flow in automatically via passive funds that track the indexes. The rest will depend on active fund managers, who are more circumspect after a slump in China's stock markets this summer that prompted some heavy-handed intervention by Chinese authorities.

Some strategists said the latest changes could be a step towards adding China "A" stocks - yuan-denominated shares listed on the mainland. MSCI excluded them from its global indexes in June, a factor that contributed to the summer selloff in stocks.

Activity in post-market U.S. trading was light, with Alibaba shares up just 0.5 percent, and Baidu shares little changed.

In addition to the changes in Chinese stocks, MSCI added foreign-listed shares from Hong Kong, Israel and the Netherlands to other indexes.

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