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Tung Policy Address a Dud in Hong Kong
Market Q&A with Scott Blanchard, head of sales trading, ABN Amro
October 7, 1999
Web posted at 11 p.m. Hong Kong time, 11 a.m. EDT

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Q: So I talked to your colleague Dominic Armstrong yesterday in K.L. And in stark contrast to you, he was quite sanguine about the Malaysian market, which I will note rose nearly 3% today on the back of Wall Street and election hopes.
A: Well, it's his market.

CNNfn: Tokyo Hits 6-week High
Wall Street gains send Nikkei above 18K for first time in 6 weeks; others firm
- Thursday, Oct. 7, 1999

Market Q&A: The Other Side of the Asian Story
With Sadiq Currimbhoy, Asia strategist, Merrill Lynch and Dominic Armstrong, head of Singapore and Malaysia research, ABN Amro
- Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1999

Asia Buzz: Dot-coms Get Street Smart
As the Internet takes over the popular psyche, domain names are blossoming--and running out
- Thursday, Oct. 7, 1999

Asia Buzz: A Wise Globalist
Japanese business sheds crocodile tears for Akio Morita
- Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1999

The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

Daily Briefing
Today's headlines from across the region

Q: So you get attached to your home market?
A: You can't get attached, because that's when you get burned.

Q: You certainly don't seem attached to Korea after spending two years there, but that's another story.
A: Korea's not dead. It just needs to be sufficiently discounted, and as long as they keep sweeping things like Hyundai under the carpet--they dropped that investigation again--it's going to be overvalued. If and when the KOSPI comes back down to 800, that's when to buy. The Koreans are always the greater fools in those cases.

Q: What about the Hang Seng? Would you buy the new 33-stock tracking fund the government is introducing Nov. 12?
A: I don't believe in tracking funds, and I don't think Hong Kong is going to see any sort of explosion.

Q: Tung Chee-hwa's policy speech didn't exactly inspire the market.
A: What a dud. A dud delivered by a dud. Just looking at Tung Chee-hwa--you know, he looks like a caricature of a Red Chinese communist party hack that would've appeared in the U.S. newsmagazines at the height of the Cold War--short and thuggish-looking. I mean, you can get away with an uninspiring message if you're Ronald Regan--if you're taller and more eloquent and look a bit more cutting-edge.

Q: Well, people expected him to talk about a strategy to revive the property market and he ended up talking about pollution, right?
A: That was just it. I think pollution is terrible here too, but protecting us from the smog is not going to jumpstart the property market.

Q: And hey, pollution doesn't seem to stop anyone from setting their sights on Chinese stocks.
A: Yes, H-shares and purple-chips (blue-chip red-chips) are going to do tremendously well. China's going to rally soon, but it's not necessarily going to flow down to Hong Kong. Whenever you see a macro turnaround, when you see the situation go from deflation to inflation, you move from a point of very little liquidity to a point of excess liquidity--that's your first leg of every bull market.

Q: What are some well-priced purple chips right now?
A: China Power, Legend Computer, China Shipping...

Q: Are you disappointed or surprised with Taiwan's success at coping with the quake? They haven't come back strong yet, though the index was up today and the official GDP growth estimate has still only been trimmed a tiny (0.2%) bit.
A: No, this is about where I expected them to be. I still really like Taiwan.

Interviewed by Maureen Tkacik/AsiaNow

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