From second thoughts on "new projects" to admitting to poor judgment, mainland companies that returned to the trading floor used a wide array of excuses to justify their suspension when the going got tough last week. Hundreds of mainland stocks suspended trading last week as investors fled Chinese stocks in a bout of panic selling that wiped out over US$3 trillion from the market. As of Friday, about 1,340 stocks stood suspended in Shanghai and Shenzhen. As markets bounce back following a battery of confidence-boosting measures by the government, some 300 firms resumed trading on Monday but were at pains to explain the sudden departure, and return. "Plans for important projects" was probably the most common excuse used by the companies that had halted trade. There wasn't much evidence of these "plans" when these companies returned. Going by the trading resumption announcements, some had pulled back their "important plans", some had ended their negotiations with business partners, while others said they overestimated the importance of what they previously saw as "important projects" but later realised they were unworthy of a trading suspension. Shanghai-listed Shantou Dongfeng Printing was among the ones that cited "plans for important projects" when it halted trading. On Sunday it said the "plan", a proposed strategic partnership with a local economic pilot zone, was "immature" and had been scrapped after "analysis and research" by the management in the last few days. Drugmaker Henan Lingrui Pharmaceutical said in its resumption statement that it had drafted an employee stock options scheme but gave it up as most employees did not show any interest, adding that the management would "put forward the scheme again whenever the situation warrants it". Hareon Solar Technology, a solar cell and module producer that halted trading in Shanghai saying it was undergoing a project, the significance of which they were "unsure" about, said in its resumption application that they found out that the matter was not that important after all. Government meetings were also a reason cited by many to suspend trading. Coal miner Heilongjiang Heihua last Wednesday said the company was in talks with city officials that would probably affect its stock price, and would like to halt trading to protect "investors' rights". On Sunday it declared that the company had confirmed that the talks concerned the controlling shareholder, not the company itself. The sudden suspension of a 1,000-odd companies on specious grounds, and now an equally abrupt return by some of them, has naturally not gone down well with investments analysts. "How they handled it leaves something to be desired," said Francis Cheung, head of China & Hong Kong Strategy at brokerage CLSA. While Cheung said regulatory mistakes are "part of the learning curve" of creating a fully functioning market, "the biggest setback is the suspension of shares". "I doubt the companies will announce anything really substantial, like mergers and acquisitions, when they resume trading," said Leung Chun-fai, head of investment strategy with Standard Chartered Wealth Management. "It was something they used to duck market volatility." But volatility and risks will continue even after they resume trading."