China’s start-up board plunges up to 6pc to end at its lowest in nearly two years amid IPO fears

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 10:34pm

China’s ChiNext index, a measure of young companies on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, plunged as much as 6.1 per cent on Monday and closed down 3.6 per cent, amid concerns that regulators would speed up new share listings this year after 24 approvals were granted in the past two weeks.

The ChiNext slid 6.1 per cent to an intra-day low of 1,783.74 at 2.30pm, the worst level since September 2015, but pared back the losses in the final half hour of the session.

The index closed at 1,830.85, 3.6 per cent lower than its closing level on Friday, reflecting the lowest close since February 2015. It also marked the eighth straight session of declines, the longest losing streak since March 2012.

The sell-off unfolded even as state media tried to soothe market fears about the pick-up in initial public offering (IPO) approvals.

The state-run newspaper Securities Daily said Monday in an editorial that the accelerated pace of IPO approvals “will not devastate” the stock market. Meanwhile, state-run Xinhua News Agency said on Sunday in a special report that “the normalisation of IPOs is good for the real economy”.

On Friday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission approved 10 companies to proceed with their IPO applications, four of which are scheduled to be listed on the ChiNext board. That added to 14 IPOs approved on January 6.

“The accelerated pace of IPOs will drain liquidity from the market and affect the valuations of start-up board stocks in particular,” said Ma Wenyu, an analyst for Shanxi Securities.

Adding to the woes of the start-up board was massive stake-selling by major shareholders, he said. Data from Wind showed more than 1.2 billion shares have been sold by major shareholders since December, worth about 22 billion yuan, he said.

In the meantime, the Shenzhen Composite Index fell 3.6 per cent to 1,851.41 and the Shenzhen Component Index fell 3 per cent to 9,712.8.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index finished down 0.3 per cent at 3,103.43. The large company tracking CSI300 nudged lower by less than 0.1 per cent to end at 3,319.45.