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Industries: Energy

The 2010 All-China Research Team Rankings Released

Graham Cunningham Citi

The buy side says: “Graham is unbiased, independent and unafraid to take a stand.”

Citi’s Graham Cunningham wins the top prize. Money managers laud the 36-year-old analyst for his January 2009 reiteration of his long-­standing buy on China National Offshore Oil Corp., at HK$6.06, on the belief that the Hong Kong–based integrated-­oil and natural-­gas producer’s cost-­cutting initiatives would boost profitability. Sure enough, as China’s economy recovered, CNOOC’s shares shot to HK$12.46, through May 2010, a jaw-­dropping 105.6 percent gain that beat the sector by 22.1 percentage points.

Cunningham moved to Citi from J.P. Morgan in 2006; he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance at Canada’s University of Manitoba in 1996. “Graham’s approach is driven by solid fundamental research,” explains one client. “More importantly, he also understands the top-down policy goals of China’s regulators and their impact on stocks.”

Second team

Cheng Khoo Nomura

In second place is Nomura’s Cheng Khoo, who “focuses on what’s relevant,” cheers one buy-side enthusiast. Last July, Khoo turned negative on China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., commonly referred to as Sinopec, and warned investors that government-imposed price reductions would have a negative impact on the Beijing-based petroleum producer’s earnings in the near term. She did not downgrade the stock, though, because she believed it was competitively positioned for the long term. However, rising crude oil prices prompted her to downgrade Sinopec from buy to neutral in January, at HK$6.65. The shares had slipped 6.9 percent, to HK$6.19, by the end of May.

Third Team

Thomas Wong BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research

Thomas Wong of BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research finishes in third place. Wong reinstated coverage of PetroChina Co. last July with a neutral rating, deeming shares of the Beijing-based integrated energy company — and China’s largest oil producer — to be fully valued at HK$8.34. In December, with the stock up 17 percent, to HK$9.76, he reiterated the rating, arguing that company profits were constrained by its high gas-import costs. By late May the share price had tumbled 12.6 percent since Wong’s reiteration, to HK$8.53. “He was the first to understand the natural-gas dynamics,” marvels one backer.


Wing Lok (Gordon) Kwan Mirae Asset Securities; Hong Ki (Chris) Shiu Goldman Sachs (Asia)

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