“China Stocks Rebounding” Tony Sagami

This one didn’t come in on an email ad, but it’s a teaser for a couple companies nonetheless … and you know how your friendly neighborhood Stock Gumshoe just looooves a teaser!

Tony Sagami runs a newsletter called Asia Stock Alert for Martin Weiss at Money and Markets, and we’ve looked at him before — unfortunately for him, it was when he was teasing Garmin as the #1 best tech stock to own now back in June, 2007.

I suppose it was one of the best ones to own for a little while there, for about four or five months — it was around $65 when he teased it, and it did shoot up over the winter to over $120. Now? It’s back under $50. So perhaps he had a trailing stop and still got a gain for his subscribers in that one, I don’t know.

Like Robert Hsu, Sagami claims that his advantage in choosing Asian stocks, and in particular Chinese stocks, is that he visits the places that no one else wants to visit, and he does his own “boots on the ground” research. I don’t know if there’s any truth to their claims that all other analysts spend their time at Shanghai nightclubs while these intrepid souls sneak around warehouses with cameras, but we’ll let them have their glamorous Gumshoe image.

Myself, I’m more of a specialist in “butt on the chair” and “eyes on the page” research, since I don’t think 10-K filings can persuade me with earnest arguments quite like corporate managers might … but I can see how “boots on the ground” can also be effective.

But we did have a point here, yes?

Right then — some Chinese companies for our perusal?

These teasers came from a purported “phone interview” between Martin Weiss and Sagami, where Sagami detailed his plans for a trip to China. And somehow, into that interview slipped a few oblique references to intriguing companies that Sagami will be visiting.

And he somehow neglected to mention their names.

Enter the Gumshoe.

It should be noted that these might not be active recommendations of Sagami’s — he’s going to visit them and he colors himself intrigued by them, but I suppose he might decide not to pick them. Just like you can decide for yourself whether or not they’re interesting.

First teaser?

This is the shorter one — Sagami mentions that he’s going to visit Macau. Anyone remember Macau? It was going to be the gambling mecca of the world, Jim Cramer talked about it every day, and the prices could only go up and up and up as more gambling-mad Chinese made their way to the one legalized gambling site in China? Yes, I know you’ve heard of it.

And we all kind of stopped paying attention because the two standard-bearers for Macau casinos, at least for US investors, have been suffering a bit since their highs of last Fall.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) went over $170 a share just before Halloween, but is now back to about $100. Still not bad if you had bought in for $20 in 2003 well before Wynn’s Macau casino opened … but the bloom is, at least a little bit, off the rose.

Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is in more or less the same situation — shares got to $140 or so in late October, and are now about half that.

There’s also Melco PBL (MPEL), which is an Asian company that has one of the other casino licenses on the former Portuguese colony … but frankly, if we’re betting on a big Vegas-style entertainment complex that pulls in people for more than one-day stays, and gets more from them than just a bunch of gambling losses, I’d probably sooner bet on either of the proven Las Vegas operators. MPEL does have some interesting ideas, though, including some smaller gambling “cafes” throughout Macau.

That’s not to say that Sagami was looking at any of these three … I’m still just prepping the teaser here.

Did I say this was a short one? Lies.

Sagami said he was going to visit Macau to see if the new casinos are still packing in the crowds like they did when they first opened … and if they can keep the crowds big, he might recommend one of them.

But more intriguingly — since a huge amount of the traffic into Macau comes from very affluent Hong Kong — he noted that he would also be looking at the company that has a monopoly on the ferry service between Macau and Hong Kong.

He doesn’t mention which company he’s teasing here, of course, but it really has to be …

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Shun Tak Holdings (0242 in Hong Kong, SHTGY for the 1:10 sponsored ADR on the pink sheets)

Shun Tak is the holding company for much of Stanley Ho’s Hong Kong/Macau empire — and the company really traces its development back to the founding of that Macau/Hong Kong ferry service in the 1960s. They are now also a major property owner in both Hong Kong and Macau, and own most of one of the gaming li