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Bull Run Refuses to Flag in a Market Awash with Cash
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Even as most A-share investors seem to be of the view that the bull run may be drawing to a close, the Shanghai Composite Index keeps shrugging off the nervous sentiment and marching on, crossing the 3,600-mark.


The dream march has made even the most zealous of the bulls a little wary. The result: the more the index climbs, the more the nervous sentiment builds up.


This was reflected in yesterday's powerful market swings. By the time the major index finally closed at 3611.87, it had undergone sharp ups and downs. After setting an all-time high of 3,622.89 in the morning, the index dropped 3 percent to 3,510.50 in four hours, and then climbed back again, curving a big "V" on the electronic board.


"It's just like being on a rollercoaster, it's too exciting," said Wang Feng, a young retail investor.


In past months, numerous people like Wang have joined the stock market party, stirred by the exploits of their friends and colleagues who have scored, and scored big on the exchange. The frenzy has caused a steady cash inflow, pushing the index to new highs, in turn drawing in more hopefuls.


The Shanghai Securities News reported that the turnover was so heavy that several banks in Shanghai saw their phone banking systems crash on Monday as customers rushed to transfer funds out to their stock accounts.


Again, on Monday, two mutual funds raised a combined 18 billion yuan in a single day launching two equity funds.


Correction impossible?


With the market awash with so much money, it's hard to tell whether a macro control will work this time.


A market insider said the State Council was likely to hold a meeting today to discuss the macroeconomic situation and the excess liquidity problem in the first quarter. Some analysts also speculate a possible interest rate hike after tomorrow's March inflation data, which is rumored to be carrying bad news.


Several interest rate hikes in the past months have actually had a limited impact on the excess liquidity. The mighty A-share stock market seems to have just moved on to a different plane, unmoved by policy tinkerings.


Both the trading volume and the number of participants in the A-share market are swelling by the day. Investors' confidence is boosted by a strong economy and a successful share restructure that has greatly improved public companies' corporate governance.


But on the other hand, many of them, especially those aged between 20 and 30, have never experienced a bear market and lack risk awareness.


The most important thing for the regulators to do is to inform them as much as possible of the market risks and the problems they might face in the future.


(China Daily April 18, 2007)



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