The question of how to play the economic reopening in China is becoming more interesting with mobility and traffic measures in the nation flashing very strong for the Chinese New Year holiday as consumers move back out into the streets. Some analysts see the China reopening as still being in the early innings, with as much as $1T in excess household savings ready to support consumption and growth.
Investors have been snapping up some China reopening stock plays already on the view the China market could outperform the U.S. in the near term. In the retail sector, some of the obvious beneficiaries that have already rallied include Luckin Coffee (OTCPK:LKNCY), up 60% since November, and Yum China (YUMC) with a 30% pop. However, Wells Fargo sees many opportunities still left for investors with the consumer momentum just getting started. Of note, luxury players like Swatch (OTCPK:SWGAY), Burberry (OTCPK:BURBY), and Richemont (OTCPK:CFRHF) have all pointed to strong traffic trends in January.
“With the Lunar New Year kicking off on January 21, we believe reopening against multiple quarters of easier regional compares will benefit companies with the largest exposure,” updated analyst Ike Boruchow.
The firm flagged Nike (NKE), Tapestry (TPR), Capri Holdings (CPRI), Farfetch (FTCH), and Canada Goose (GOOS) as some of the apparel sellers with exposure to China ranging from 12% to 20%. Other apparel names that could see a tailwind from China due to exposure of more than 5% include Lululemon (LULU), Under Armour (UAA), Gap (GPS), Kontoor Brands (KTB), and PVH (PVH).
Of course, Macau casino operator Las Vegas Sand (LVS) has 68% revenue exposure to China and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) has 40% exposure, but both stocks have rallied strongly and may be already pricing in a near-term boom in traffic. Within the leisure sector, Goldman Sachs thinks InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) may be an under-the-radar pick with the company set to benefit from an expected surge in travel with its Holiday Inn chain throughout China. The firm noted that Chinese travelers frequently look for familiar brands when they head abroad. There is also Trip.com (TCOM), which has reported a huge burst of travel activity in January. The Chinese travel stock is still viewed favorably on Wall Street despite a 48% rally over the last six months and has a Strong Buy Seeking Alpha Quant Rating that stands out in comparison to other online travel stocks.
Within the broad consumer sector, some other companies with a high mix of business from China include Domino’s Pizza (DPZ), Estee Lauder (EL), Aptiv (APTV) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). Cowen analyst Andrew Charles thinks the China recovery represents a major catalyst for Starbucks shares this year with the 100% company-operated business model in place. China is also anticipated to give SBUX the earnings lift it needs to top its recently-issued long-term guidance.
On Seeking Alpha, author David Zanoni did a breakdown of other China reopening plays, including some of the names in the tech sector. Meanwhile, author Fade The Market thinks Nike is still being undervalued for the China reopening upside.