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Chinese stocks' strong rally rebuilds confidence

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-26 10:46

An investor checks stock prices at a brokerage in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

BEIJING -- The Chinese stock market has staged a strong rally in the first week of the Chinese Lunar New Year after trading resumed following an eight-day Chinese Spring Festival holiday.

Counting in the three days of sharp rises before the holiday, the market has achieved an 8-day rising streak since Feb 6, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rising by more than 11 percent and the Shenzhen Component Index up by nearly 13 percent during Feb 6-23.

On Friday, Chinese stocks closed 0.55 percent higher at 3,004.88, a tad higher above the psychologically important 3,000 mark, while the Shenzhen Component Index closed up 0.28 percent at 9,069.42.

As the Chinese ushered in the Year of the Dragon, also known as Loong, a Chinese zodiac legendary creature traditionally viewed as bringing good luck and fortune, the market's week-long buoyant performance to some extent boosts investors' expectations of better investment returns in 2024.

In tandem with the market's rally, "supervision" and "risk mitigation" have lately become the buzzwords as the nation's top securities regulator, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), welcomed earlier this month a new head. This week, the regulator also convened intensive symposiums for people from all walks of life to listen to their voices on the sound development of the nation's capital market.

Symposiums zero in on capital market issues 

Wu Qing took office as the CSRC's new chairman just a few days before the Chinese Spring Festival. He reportedly worked overtime even during the holiday, and on Feb 18 and 19, Wu and other CSRC leaders chaired more than 10 consecutive symposiums to extensively hear the opinions and suggestions on strengthening stock market supervision, risk control, and the promotion of the capital market's high-quality development.

Analysts and pundits broadly viewed this series of symposiums as both very unusual and impactful in that the topics covered by these meetings were wide-ranging and in-depth.

Wu Xiaoqiu, president of China Capital Market Research Institute, said that the holding of these symposiums has reflected the CSRC's high concerns for the current situation and development of the capital market. "Chairman Wu is a capital market expert and has a thorough understanding of the capital market. The issue that everyone is most concerned about at the meeting is how to stabilize the market and stabilize expectations. We discussed how to further promote system reform and achieve the combination of short-term policies and long-term system construction."

According to the CSRC, the symposiums dwelled upon topics such as IPO access, supervision of listed companies, standardizing shareholding reduction and trading behavior, optimizing dividends, and promoting value investing. They also focused on other topics such as optimizing market value management, enhancing the strength of professional institutions, promoting long-term funds to enter the market, delisting mechanisms, and market openness and safety.

Major suggestions raised through these meetings 

The CSRC summarized some main categories of suggestions from participants in a statement, including:

-- To strictly control IPO access, strengthen the whole-process supervision of listed companies, resolutely clear out unqualified listed companies, fundamentally improve the quality of listed companies, and increase investment returns.

-- To adhere to the investor-oriented concept by standardizing various transaction behaviors and improving the system's fairness.

-- To develop and strengthen the capabilities of professional investment to attract more medium and long-term funds to invest in the market.

-- To adhere to marketization and rule of law, unswervingly deepen capital market reform, expand institutional opening, and consolidate the institutional foundation for the capital market's high-quality development.

Experts and economists who joined in the symposium discussions also deliberated their views on the capital market operation and reform. Tian Xuan, vice president of the Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance, said in an interview with the China Securities Journal, a national securities newspaper, that there are already institutional designs that are investor-oriented and prioritize investment returns, but what's most important is to improve the quality of listed companies. "It is necessary to attract high-growth, high-tech companies to go public and enhance their investability; it is also necessary to strictly control IPO access, strengthen the whole-process supervision of listed companies, and resolutely delist stocks from the market that do not meet requirements to promote the survival of the fittest in the market."

Tian added that it is also necessary to synergize both the criminal law and securities law to severely crack down on financial fraud, fraudulent offerings, insider trading, market manipulation, and other illegal activities.

The market's rally this week has been in tandem with penalty announcements for market violations. For instance, on Thursday, the CSRC announced fines to the tune of more than 100 million yuan ($14 million) for 11 individuals suspected of illegal practices such as insider trading and market manipulation, the Securities Times, a national financial newspaper reported.

On Feb 19, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges issued separate statements that named Lingjun Investment, a major quant fund, as an entity that had disrupted orderly market trading by selling an excessive amount of stocks worth more than 2.5 billion yuan within the first minute following the market's open, which led to a temporary sharp drop of key benchmark indices.

The exchanges announced penalties for the company, including open censure and a restriction on trading for a stated period of three days.

The CSRC said that the measures taken were for fulfilling trading supervision responsibilities, not limiting share selling.

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