Parking on Wall Street?
The countdown has already begun, at least in Hong Kong, on lifting the moratorium on the sale of mainland shares by institutional investors scheduled for Jan 8. It has been widely reported in Hong Kong that overseas investors have been unloading their mainland shares in expectation of an avalanche of sales orders after the holiday break that could push the market even lower.
But there are those who are more sanguine, believing that any excessive downward pressure would be softened by the mainland authorities who are seen to be keeping a close eye on market behavior. But the widening discount of Hong Kong-listed H-share prices to those of Shanghai-listed A shares is an indication of the lack of confidence in the mainland market on the part of many Hong Kong-based foreign investors.
As noted in last week’s column, investing in both Hong Kong and mainland shares seems to make little sense at the moment. Hong Kong faces a myriad of economic problems arising, at least partly, from the mainland’s nagging economic slowdown. The continued depreciation of the renminbi against the Hong Kong dollar has removed one of the major incentives for investing in mainland assets.
The question facing many investors is where to park their money in 2016. If you listen to the big money, they have been telling us there’s no impending reason for the SAR to follow the United States in raising bank interest rates. But that’s little consolation in the face of mounting negative economic data that is sapping investors’ confidence and dampening their spirits.
Buying mainland bonds to take advantage of the government’s efforts to prop up the market doesn’t seem to be an appetizing option either, because any price gain from lower interest rates could be negated by the Chinese currency’s devaluation.
The same is true for investing in neighboring Asian economies, including Japan, at a time when nearly all their currencies are falling against the Hong Kong dollar.
Most Hong Kong investors have largely bypassed Europe which is still haunted by a possible outbreak of another Greek debt crisis. Barring that, the European economic recovery is patchy at best and the euro looks anything but strong.
Apart from parking your money in bank deposits and taking a long vacation on a paradise island in the Pacific, you can consider investing in US stocks while the greenback appears to be invincible, and in the belief that President Barack Obama will do whatever he can to keep the economy and the market humming to give his party a better chance of winning the White House for at least another four years.
A good bet may be to invest in US stocks while the greenback appears invincible and the White House keen on keeping markets humming.