(Bloomberg) -- Trading in Chinese education stocks listed in the U.S. started to show signs of a reprieve on Tuesday after a sharp two-day selloff wiped out billions in market value from the companies.
Shares of TAL Education Group and New Oriental Education & Technology Group -- down nearly $20 billion in value in the past two trading sessions -- each gained as much as 12% in premarket. Other companies, including Meten EdtechX Education Group Ltd., Gaotu Techedu Inc. and China Online Education Group were also higher as of 8:15 a.m. in New York.
The rebound follows the worst two-day selloff in U.S.-listed companies in over a decade as regulators in Beijing unleashed sweeping policy changes on the technology, online education and property management sectors. Market across China slumped on Tuesday as rumors circulated that U.S. funds were dumping Chinese and Hong Kong assets, with analysts warning that gains may be short-lived.
To add to that wall of worry, firms with a variable interest entity (VIE) structure, which turns a Chinese company into a foreign one with shares that overseas investors can buy, has never been formally endorsed by Beijing, leaving investors perennially nervous about their bets unwinding overnight.
As part of the latest crackdown, regulators banned foreign firms from acquiring or holding shares in school curriculum tutoring institutions, or using a VIE to do so. They added that anyone currently in violation of the new policy will need to rectify the situation.
“Under the new rules, the legitimacy of the listing status of certain players currently using the VIE structure, notably New Oriental and TAL Education, may be challenged,” according to CCB International Securities analyst Anita Chu.
Despite the rebound today, not everyone’s convinced the selloff has abated.
“I expect the selloff in listed mainland companies in Hong Kong and the U.S. to continue for some time yet until we reach a level that international investors feel the now much-increased China regulatory risk is balanced by attractive enough valuations,”said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda.
(Adds details on VIE structure, analyst comment in final paragraph and updates pricing throughout.)
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