SouFun Shares Crushed: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of China-base real estate portal SouFun (NYS: SFUN) cratered today, falling as much as 12% on above-average volume.

So what: Chinese stocks are dropping like flies at an exterminator convention today, dinged by a widely reported slowdown in the world's largest nation's economic growth. When that happens, real estate specialists like SouFun tend to suffer more than most. The company, which was last year's biggest Chinese IPO, set an all-time low in intraday trading.

Now what: Then again, you have to have a taste for adventure if you're buying SouFun. More than 20% of the float is sold short, according to Yahoo! Finance, and a dividend yield north of 14% should also set off warning lights. Direct competitors China Real Estate Information (NAS: CRIC) and Sohu.com (NAS: SOHU) are also heavily shorted, which underscores the raw-nerve jumpiness of this market sector. That said, a rebound from these levels could prove spectacular in a year or two if the slowdown fears turn out to be overdone ... but only if you have the stomach for an extremely bumpy ride along the way.

Interested in more information about SouFun? Add it to My Watchlist.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Sohu.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

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