Two widely owned stocks could be vulnerable to rising U.S.-China tensions, trader says

Rising U.S.-China tensions are again in focus after the State Department ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to close because of  intellectual property and privacy concerns.

Flare-ups in tensions could last another decade, warns Mark Tepper, president of Strategic Wealth Partners. He adds that two popular stocks could be vulnerable if the situation worsens: Apple and Nike.

"China accounts for about 20% of revenues for both companies, and I think what people need to be thinking about right now is potentially managing risk on these positions by potentially trimming," Tepper told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Wednesday.

He said Apple appears to be "priced for perfection" after a 32% run this year and trading with a forward price-to-earnings ratio double its five-year average.

"As much as Apple wants to shift the focus towards services, they do need to get their phones in the hands of the consumer in China first," he added.

As for Nike, he says athletic apparel company's exposure is about demand and supply chain.

"In addition to getting a huge portion of their revenues from China, China also makes 23% of their shoes so that's a problem as it relates to tariffs," he said. "With both of these companies, they're good companies, a lot of people own them, but I think we have to be smart, we have to manage risk and it might make sense to trim."

Chinese stocks have taken off. The FXI China large-cap ETF is up nearly 8% this month, outpacing the S&P 500.

JC O'Hara, MKM Partners' chief market technician, is watching the CQQQ China tech ETF for signs the rally can continue or whether it's about to drop. He says, as in the U.S., tech stocks in China have been market leaders.

"The chart is still in a very clear well-defined uptrend. The ETF rallied 70% off the March lows. It's important, and I will even say it's vital, for the bulls to see this chart hold above those 2018 highs at $65. Failure to hold that level will indicate to me that leadership is failing, which in turn I believe will result in further weakness for Chinese stocks overall," O'Hara said during the same "Trading Nation" segment.

The CQQQ ETF closed Wednesday at $68.52.

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Disclosure: Ascent Wealth Partners holds AAPL. 


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