NYSE Reverses Course Again, Will Delist Three Chinese Telecom Stocks

The New York Stock Exchange will move forward with delisting three Chinese telecommunications companies targeted by an executive order from President Trump, reversing course yet again after the NYSE said earlier this week that it wouldn’t delist them.

The NYSE said its latest action came after it received “new specific guidance” from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Tuesday, which listed the three companies’ American depositary receipts as being covered by Mr. Trump’s order.

Wednesday’s reversal is likely to raise further questions about the exchange’s handling of the three Chinese stocks. Last week, the NYSE said it would delist the three companies to comply with Mr. Trump’s order, only to reverse course on Monday and say that it wasn’t delisting them.

A person familiar with the matter said the NYSE backtracked Monday due to ambiguity in whether the three companies were covered by the order, but the new guidance, which Treasury shared with the exchange late Tuesday, made it clear that the companies must be delisted. The Treasury posted that guidance online Wednesday morning.

The NYSE’s backpedaling drew criticism from the Trump administration and supporters of a hard line against Beijing. Treasury Secretary

Steven Mnuchin

called NYSE President

Stacey Cunningham

to object to the NYSE’s flip-flop.

The Treasury Dept.’s handling of the order has also come under fire.

Sen. Marco Rubio

(R., Fla.) on Wednesday blamed the department for issuing erroneous guidance that led the NYSE to temporarily walk back its delisting.

“It is outrageous that those in the U.S. Treasury Department attempted to undermine the President’s Executive Order in a blatant attempt to serve the interests of Wall Street and the Chinese Communist Party at the expense of the United States,” Mr. Rubio said in a statement.

The senator added that he was pleased the NYSE was moving ahead with the delisting. A Treasury spokesman declined to comment.

Critics on all sides hammered the NYSE, owned by Intercontinental Exchange Inc., for its flip-flop on the delistings, even as it remained unclear whether the exchange or the Treasury was at fault for the confusing series of reversals.

In China, officials have criticized the delisting of the telecom companies, saying it would harm the standing of the U.S. in global capital markets. “I’m sure all countries, not just China, are watching what the United States plans to do, which will determine whether it can be seen as a reliable or trustworthy partner for cooperation,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said at a briefing Wednesday.

Meanwhile, U.S. critics of Beijing have accused the NYSE of trying to curry…

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