Asia Markets: Buffett's BYD Soars, Maker of China's Favorite Car


In Asia Tuesday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.3% to 21,023 and China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5% to close at 2,993. In Japan the Nikkei 225 Index slid 0.3% to 10,722.

In Hong Kong, Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co. surged 8% after brokerages increased earnings estimates for the battery and electric car company. BYD has posted fantastic profits for 2009 with sales surging 162% for the year, according to Business Week, while
China's auto sales as a whole surged 46%. The company has scaled back plans to begin mass-producing its cars in China this year, but has already delivered 100 E6 hatchbacks to Shenzhen Taxi Company Ltd., according to, which will be used as cabs in Shenzhen, the company's home turf. Not a bad advertising campaign.

BYD's F3, a 4-door compact car that retails for about $9,300, was the best-selling car in China last year, and the company is aiming to sell 800,000 cars this year -- nearly double the 448,397 it sold last year.

Other Hong Kong-listed car makers rose as well. Great Wall Motor, which also saw sales jump last year, racked up a 6.1% gain and DongFeng Motor rose 1.6%. Geely Automobile, still in talks over the purchase of Volvo fell 1.2%.

In other sectors, Hong Kong developers declined overall. Sino Land slumped 1.7%, Sun Hung Kai tumbled 1.4%, Cheung Kong dropped 1.1%, and Hang Lung slipped 0.8%. A few property companies inched up slightly: New World Development rose 0.4% and Henderson Land added 0.2%.

Hong Kong-listed Chinese medicine company China Shineway Pharmaceutical Group benefited from an upgrade from Goldman Sachs from neutral to buy, sending the share price surging 11.5%. The company sells medicines made with Chinese herbs, but produced in standardized modern manufacturing plants. It makes products like the Yinzhihuang Injection, which the company says will, "clear heat and toxic material, remove dampness and relieve the jaundice."

Chinese banks closed higher today with China
Merchants Bank rising 3.2% and China Pudong Development Bank advancing 2.5%. China Minsheng Banking Corp. added 1.1% and Bank of China was up 0.5%.

All three of China's major airlines gained value today. China Eastern Airlines soared 5.1%, Air China climbed 3.7% and China Southern added 1.8%.

In Tokyo, exporters led the market lower as the yen gained on the dollar, decreasing the income brought home on sales made abroad. Isuzu and Nissan both fell 1.6% and Honda slid 1.5%. Among electronics companies, Pioneer, which makes more than half of its money on overseas sales, dived 2.5%, NEC tumbled 1.5% and camera maker Canon slumped 1.3%. Amidst the bad news, Nikon scored a 2.8% gain, Konica Minolta advanced 1.3% and Toyota clawed back 1.3% today - proving that there's always demand for Japanese goods.