Army of small investors still believes, despite rout
Investors who piled into mainland China’s stock market at the government’s behest may have lost heavily in recent months, but many clung Monday to hopes of official rescue even as markets erased the year’s gains.
Chinese trading screens were bathed in a sea of green — the color of falling prices in the country, where red has positive connotations and marks rising values — as the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plummeted 8.49 percent, or 297.83 points, to 3,209.91, below its closing level on Dec. 31 last year.
Retired factory worker Ni Dongxia, 72, sat calmly in front of a display in a trading room in Beijing which showed nearly all stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen in the negative.
He has invested about half his savings in the stock market, but remained confident in authorities’ ability to handle the situation.
“The government won’t allow the stock market to fall too much and will help it rise again,” he said. “The national leadership cares about the people. How could they just let us lose all our money?”
Ni’s fellow investors, most of them retirees, sat sipping tea from thermoses, chatting and occasionally walking over to one of the computers along the wall to make a trade.
Almost all of China’s more than 90 million stock investors are individuals, according to the China Securities Depository and Clearing Co. — more than the Chinese Communist Party has members. This differs from most developed countries, where institutions dominate.
Mainland Chinese investors monitor stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing, Monday, Aug. 24. Stocks tumbled across Asia on Monday as investors shaken by the sell-off last week on Wall Street unloaded shares in practically every sector.