Friday blues plague mainland, local markets despite upturn It seems the mainland and Hong Kong stock markets have caught a 'Black Friday' flu. The markets tend to be weak towards the weekend as investors buy less aggressively and spend time planning their Saturday and Sunday activities rather than taking extra risks immediately before the two non-trading days. In the mainland, there's a trendy theory that if the government is going to announce measures affecting the stock market, chances are it will do so after the Friday close. That may go some way to explaining why the Shanghai Composite Index fell for five of the last seven week-closing sessions since May, despite an overall upturn. In three of the five Friday falling sessions, the index actually declined more than 2 per cent. A similar pattern was seen in the Hang Seng Index, which has fallen in six of nine Friday sessions since May. Meanwhile, the index was breaking new highs with a 9.5 per cent gain in the past two months. The pre-weekend effect took its toll yesterday when the two A-share markets fell more than 5 per cent for no obvious reason. While we are writing this, Lai See received a friendly reminder from cartoonist Ming, who read some local fortune tellers and cautioned readers to pay more attention to stock price movements today. You are also reminded to stay calm for Friday the 13th next week. Numbers come up again Still with numbers, who says the Shanghai stock market cannot be manipulated? The Shanghai A-Share Index closed last month at 4,009.97. At the end of May, it ended at 4,309.97 - exactly 300 points difference. Could the recurrence of the same last three digits be a fix? Love to see you, but ... China Construction Bank has picked Qingdao as the city to host its extraordinary general meeting for its planned A-share listing next month. The bank yesterday sent out a circular urging all shareholders to attend, but the invitation fell short of offering a package tour. According to the circular, the meeting is expected to be concluded within half a day. 'Shareholders (or their proxies) attending the meeting are responsible for their own transportation and accommodation expenses,' it said. Certainly shareholders can well afford the trip after seeing a 70 per cent surge in the bank's Hong Kong share price in the past 12 months. Midland staff get extra bonus One may argue that a certain part of the Hong Kong residential property market may be the city's most lagging asset class, but property agencies still seem to do a booming business. Surely bonus time has come early for Midland Realty Holdings. We heard that the property agency last month awarded its 400 back-office staff a bonus of 60 per cent of a month's pay. So far this year, the extra bonus has come to the equivalent of 1.2 months' pay, higher than in previous years. Snakes be warned Do you recall the song about the old woman who swallowed a bird to catch a spider, after swallowing the spider to catch the fly already in her stomach? A similar story happened to former Cathay Pacific chief executive Philip Chen Nan-lok, who writes in his forthcoming book about his expatriate days in Singapore. In those days, Mr Chen lived in an ageing black and white house in the Lion City where he was surrounded by trees as well as snakes. His neighbour from New Zealand mumbled that the snakes were probably more active than the children because they did not rest in winter (and Singapore has no winter). So his friend suggested he raise a dog whose sensitive nose could give advance warning of danger. The problem was the snakes were so big they scared away even dogs. Other friends suggested that having a goose around the place could help because their guano and loud voice could deter the limbless reptiles. Unfortunately, a lack of toilet training for the geese presented an even bigger hygiene problem at home. At last, a British neighbour found an easy solution. 'Just post 'We are Chinese' in front of the house, and I am sure the snakes will not go near your house for fear of turning into snake soup.'