Trading insights from everyday investors
Published: Mar 28, 2019 03:53 PM

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

Editor's Note:

Chinese mainland stocks have staged an impressive rally since the start of February, reviving hopes for the stock market where bullish rallies are mostly understood as rare, fleeting moments in its nearly 30-year history.

In the eyes of a multitude of retail investors, the backbone of the A-share market, the spectacular rebound - the key Shanghai Composite Index had surged 21.2 percent this year as of the market's close on Wednesday - seemed to be a shot in the arm. As a consequence, not only those having deleted their trading apps have lately re-downloaded the apps, but many new stock accounts have been opened.

While stock investment is essentially about capital gains and losses, narratives by some veteran investors, interviewed by the Global Times recently at two iconic trading venues in Beijing, appear to have gone beyond merely either buying or selling stocks. In fairness, the majority of mainland investors now trade stocks from their smartphones. Still, old-fashioned trading halls which are destined to drop out of existence are easier places to sense what retail investors truly feel.

Deng Yi, 54 years old, a migrant worker from Wenshan in Southwest China's Yunnan Province

In the shabby little trading hall of the China Galaxy Securities outlet in Beijing's Xicheng district, which opened in August 1990, a short man nicknamed Little Yunnan is among the few who are willing to be interviewed.

I first came to Beijing in 2000 and opened a brokerage account that year. I remembered seeing crowds of people in a CITIC Securities outlet and I decided to fork out 96 yuan ($14.3) to open an account which stayed idle until 2007 because I didn't know how to trade.

I began trading, thanks to a young securities employee from Sichuan who acquainted me with the basics of stock investment. I'm a day trader and normally hold a position for a couple of days at the most.

I don't like to operate on my phone, as its screen is too small to picture comprehensive stock market information. My stock picks are mostly based on my own judgment from technical analysis. Trades depend on whether shares have the potential to rise or how long they've been in decline.

I spend about five to six hours every trading day hanging around the hall. I now live in Fengtai district where the rent costs about 400 yuan per month (roughly 15 kilometers from the brokerage outlet). There's no trading hall nearby and I used to take a bus to this outlet which I've visited on a regular basis since 2009.

I'm not on a fixed-term contract and do whatever odd jobs are available after the market's close and on the weekend. I would consider increasing my position if I happen to get higher wages, meaning an additional 200-300 yuan other than my monthly earning of a few thousand yuan.

I never borrow money to buy stocks. All my investments are derived from my earnings. Last month I made over 3,700 yuan and used 2,500 yuan to invest in stocks. These past few days I earned about 1,000 yuan from stock investment.

I put several thousand yuan into the stock market and a plunge by the daily limit of 10 percent would only run to a few hundred yuan. My stocks rise by 10-20 percent when I get lucky, and sometimes I sell too early and miss out on future gains.

Thus far, my account has overall been in the red. I don't buy lottery tickets though, which are like a bottomless pit. Stocks are different, they're always there. I also lost money on funds bought on the phone, so opted to ditch the funds.

The Shanghai index could climb to 3,500-3,600 points before sliding into a correction. What happens next depends on whether there will be signs of the economy withering or blundering. If not, the index is likely to continue its upward trend. That said, I don't care about the performance of the index. My only concern is whether the stock I purchase today can make money tomorrow.

Had I been as rich as Li Ka-shing, the NASDAQ Stock Market would have been acquired a long time ago. Economic strength underpins unruliness. That's why the US started trade wars. The Chinese economy is correlated to its stock markets. Otherwise, how could investors possibly make money? China has yet to outstrip the US in stock market terms and the US stock market has a much longer history.

Song Xiaoyan, a Beijing local in his 40s

Identifying himself as a company employee, Song appears composed and professional, an apparent standout from a crowd of retirees at the China Galaxy Securities outlet.

I'm interested in the stock market and have over five years' experience. Only once in a while would I come to the trading hall. It was not very safe to trade on the phone previously, but it's different now with phones equipped with security firewalls.

Normally I just buy two to three stocks. I've built up large positions and made small profits recently. The market is performing much better this year than it was last year. Mainland stocks are now in a structural bull market which will continue until the new science and technology innovation board gets up and running. I'm qualified to participate in the new board (individual investors will need to have at least 500,000 yuan in their trading accounts). If the bull run continues, I'll increase my positions.

The government has attached high importance to the stock market, supposedly a barometer of the economy. The new boss at the China Securities Regulatory Commission seems experienced and will do a good job as long as he can handle the pace of IPOs.

With the country aiming to grow its economy by 6-6.5 percent this year, and foreign institutions expected to be involved in prepping IPOs on the new board, among efforts to open the equity market wider to foreign investment, investor sentiment is turning bullish. Some foreign investment banks forecast the Shanghai index could climb above 3,500 points.

The amount of margin loans is now far from alarming and it's a good time for authorities to crack down on unregulated shadow margin debt. I'm not against those selling their homes to invest in the stock market. At least they use their own money, without resorting to margin finance.

Auntie Liu, 91 year-old, a retired copy editor of a fine arts publication house in Beijing

While Chinese dama, literally older women, are generally considered an important force behind speculative bets ranging from gold purchases to stock investment, very few of them want to talk to the media. In the spacious trading hall of a branch of China Securities on Dongzhimen South Street, which opened in 1993, the first outlet in Beijing of the brokerage whose stock has nearly tripled this year by the market close on Wednesday, Auntie Liu, sitting quietly with her eyes fixed on her phone, looks hale and hearty. She's the only dama in the trading hall who seriously accepts an interview with the Global Times, although she doesn't want her photograph taken.

I had been rehired for 10 years after retirement at the age of 55. Initially, I began to learn calligraphy and singing. But I was still young at that time and soon got bored with that kind of idle life. The stock market happened to be on a bull run then and I made the decision to enter the market for some fun and have been stuck in it ever since.

I don't have money worries. I have an apartment in Sanlitun and get a decent pension of nearly 8,000 yuan per month, plus an old age allowance of 200 yuan each month.

It's okay for me to be here. I have to be in touch with people. Being home alone is lonely.

I have two sons and one daughter. My daughter, living abroad, initially advised me not to make trades. She reckoned it was like gambling and could tire me out. I said to her it was fine. Otherwise I would have nothing to do at home. I was too old to travel around. It's nice sitting in the trading hall and having a chat with people in there.

Stock investment doesn't affect my health. My attitude is to never feel sad over losses or get overjoyed at gains. That said, I was still embittered by the market slump last year.

It's on a rebound now. The Shanghai index has been hovering around 3,100 points. It needs to climb to at least 3,200 points and other technical readings have to be concurrently indicative of continuing strength, then a bull run will genuinely begin.

I love technology, so I would like to invest in technology stocks. Most stocks plunged last year. It's not a big deal, as almost everyone was suffering. I was not the only one. Apparently the worst is over. I've held onto my money-losing positions and it's now proven not bad.

My stocks are on the rise, although they haven't risen by the 10 percent daily limit for several days running, as some leading stocks have shown.

There are patterns in the stock market which are worth researching. I'm not good at it, but I know people who have made huge profits from the market. Someone I know of put about 200,000 yuan in the market and earned 300,000 yuan recently on one poultry producer stock.

It's risky overall. I mostly regard it as a recreational activity. Many people have opened brokerage accounts lately. I don't support young people investing in the stock market. Some addicted stock market investors are like gamblers who simply end up falling deeper into the trap. But what can young people do? Those who want to build a career here can't afford to buy a home. I would say those with a flair for investment can try, otherwise they'd better focus on their jobs.

I'm not the most senior in here. There's one gentleman, aged 94, who is better than me at investing. I will quit the market if I recoup the stock-trading loss some day.

I watch TV programs every morning reviewing and analyzing the market and in the evening I prefer to watch TV dramas. I also keep a close watch on information pushed by the phone. Overall, I spend a lot of time on stock investment. But I still don't know how to operate.

I'm a slow thinker and have to try harder. It's not easy. I missed out on the current rebound, as I was overcautious. I did spot some excellent stocks and was tempted to buy them, but I had to liquidate my losing positions first, which I couldn't bear to do. I understand something's wrong if there's affection for stocks.

I feel I'll never recoup my losses so don't ask me to try. It'll put too much pressure on me.