Sunday, January 10, 2016

For the second time this past week, Chinese stock markets shut early after its "circuit breaking" mechanism, that was introduced on January 1, was breached within the first 30 minutes of trading. This triggered a sharp fall in the Shanghai Composite index - 7pc.
The slump in the stock market came as Chinese authorities guided the yuan lower - allowing it to decline by 0.5pc, its most since August, which resulted in a mass sell-off, otherwise known as Black Monday. Stocks should be valued based on the dividend yield not future earnings which never are realised. If debt had been priced correctly this manic stock market could have been easily controlled.  Any market in investments is inherently unstable due to the positive feedback at the heart of the trading. The problem is that unstable systems are very difficult to stabilise and often any atemps to do so can lead to further instability. The heart of the problem is that a price variation is reinforced by herd mentality. If the price goes up, then more people buy rather than fewer as would occur for most non investment items. The reverse is also true. This is worse when there is wider share ownership, as more investors act irrationally rather than based on reasoned consideration of company fundamentals. Possible other devices to consider are shorting, higher stamp duty, minimum length of share ownership, discouraging wider share ownership and price reinforcement. What is really needed is the investment equivalent of a car shock absorber combined with something that cuts or attenuated the positive feed back. My favourite is minimum length of share ownership. If a stock is subject to a speculative price hike then investors are less likely to put more in if they know that they cannot get it out in the short term. In short, short term investments are a contributory factor to price instability.  Having consulted the oracle, I get that ominous hexagram known as the Preponderance of the Great. Too much weight in the middle; all unbalanced, and clearly away from the Tao.

No comments: