Disbelief, and a punter reaches for the tissues

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 October, 2008, 12:00am

The plunging market yesterday dealt a new blow to investors' confidence, as the government decided to inject HK$1.2 million into counselling services for losers in the financial crisis.

Retail investors shook their heads in disbelief at Prudential Brokerage's Central office when the Hang Seng Index reached its low point of the day, down 1,500 points, at 3.10pm.

They found little relief in a small rebound later in the session, fearing the market could fall further next week. An investor asked for tissues, saying he wanted to cry.

Another investor said he had learned a lesson and was considering washing his hands of stocks.

'It's wise to stay away from the market,' he said. 'You can go swimming, fishing or hiking, but don't touch any stocks.'

But moments later, he switched his full attention back to the computer screen to track prices.

Some investors who had attempted to buy low in the past few days said the market now looked bottomless.

The Social Welfare Department yesterday said it would set aside HK$1.2 million for the CEASE Crisis Centre and the Family Crisis Support Centre to help those with 'emotional and family problems'.

A spokesman said registered social workers would run hotlines around the clock.

'Social workers will provide face-to-face counselling and organise support groups to help individuals and families with emotional problems ... by strengthening their skills in coping with stress and working out positive ways to manage their problems.'

People can call the Financial Crisis Emotional Support Hotline of the CEASE Crisis Centre at 2454 8800 or the Family Crisis Support Centre at 3162 3030.

The hotlines will begin operation on Monday at 9am.