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.

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