I got home late last night and flipped on the TV to watch baseball. What came on first was Bloomberg TV, where reporters in London (?) and Hong Kong were exchanging near-hysterical comments about the declining Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets.
The facts couldn’t have been much more at odds with their dire pronouncements. Yes, the markets were down by 2% – 3%. Yes, a small number of stocks were limit down. But the markets were relatively stable and trading was orderly. Given, however, that the main concern for global investors, as well as Chinese participants in the domestic stock markets, is to have China shrink the still-large amount of margin debt outstanding without a market collapse, overnight market action in Shanghai and Shenzhen was a very positive development. As it turns out, although the markets closed down slightly for the day, they were even up at one point. Volumes were reasonable, too. Let’s hope this continues.
(An aside: the Bloomberg TV spectacle I witnessed is one more illustration, if anyone needed it, that the recent shakeup of the Bloomberg news organization is taking it further down the road toward infotainment and away from analysis.)
I came across a Factset article this morning discussing the performance of ETFs that specialize in small-cap Chinese stocks. These have been the center of speculative activity in China over the past year. But they have also been an area subject at times to protracted trading suspensions for some stocks and to days where some have been limit-up or limit-down with no trade. The short story is that thanks to fair value pricing the ETFs themselves have experienced no problems. More on this tomorrow.