3 Stocks to Watch as China Stabilizes

Mayer Winkler

China just surprised the markets by reporting an unexpected rise in capital inflows. Foreign exchange reserves have risen by the most in 14 months on the back of a falling Chinese yuan. If this continues, it could signal the stabilization of the second largest economy in the world.

With so much negative sentiment surrounding China, many U.S. stocks with ties to the Chinese economy could be oversold. The latest capital inflow data, even if it isn’t sustained long term, could at least trigger a short-term turnaround in stocks dependent on a healthy Chinese economy.

Here are three to keep an eye on as potential buys right now.


Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) has had a bit of an odd year to date. Its stock is up a little over 11% since January, but the company has consistently reported month-over-month declines in total retail sales and machine sales, two of its leading indicators. Net income has declined for the past three years, and the final quarter of 2015 aside, the same can be said about the past three quarters.

The company has a large Chinese sales base, selling more than 100,000 excavators to China at its peak. This dropped to a little over 23,000 in 2015, and at the end of last year management reported it expected a dampened sales outlook on the back of Chinese troubles. Now that the economy in Asia looks to be stabilizing, at least temporarily, Caterpillar may start shipping its machinery across the Pacific in greater numbers once more.

Yum! Brands

As far as Asian operations are concerned, few companies have drawn as much financial media attention than Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM). The company, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands globally, is putting into motion a plan to spin off its Asian operations as a separate entity. Ahead of the spin-off, data suggests that sales growth is picking up, with the latest figures from the first quarter suggesting a 12% increase in same-store sales since last year. The spin-off is expected to complete before the end of 2016, so Yum shareholders have an opportunity here to own both companies before then.


In 2009, sportswear giant Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) generated $1.7 billion in revenues from China. By 2015, this rose to $3.1 billion, an 82% gain in five years. Furthermore, independent analysts and the company itself expect this trend to continue. Health and fitness is on the up across the whole of Asia, and Nike is leading the charge from a retail perspective. Its closest competitor, Adidas, generates around $500 million a quarter from China, so it’s not too far behind, but just as in the United States, brand perception is strong for Nike, especially across the wealthier demographics.

Regional growth for Nike in China is 27% for the six months ended November 2015, versus only single digits in the United States at 9% for the same period. As long as this disparity continues, Nike should do well on the back of a — possibly temporarily — healthy Chinese economy.