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Investors shake off speculation of new listings

By XIE YU in Shanghai (China Daily)

07:56, May 06, 2013

Investors at a brokerage in Fuyang, Anhui province, on Friday. The benchmark mainland index surged by 1.44 percent. [Lu Qijian / for China Daily]

The Chinese stock market rallied strongly on Friday, as investors ignored predictions of a deluge of IPOs that many fear could depress stock prices by siphoning off investment funds.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission has reopened the IPO door by launching preliminary reviews of as many as 88 companies that have applied for a market listing.

Sixty-five companies are said to be waiting to list on the main board and the small and medium-sized enterprises board. A further 23 have tendered IPO applications for the Nasdaq-style board, ChiNext, according to statements on the official website of the CSRC.

"It is a large number, but I am reluctant to say the preliminary review necessarily signals the IPO reopening," said Jasper Wang, a senior sponsor representative at a mid-sized brokerage in Shanghai.

Even if it does signal a reopening, there will be a long time lag before the impact of a flood of IPOs will be felt in the market, analysts said.

A preliminary review usually takes about six months to complete. Moreover, analysts said they don't expect a large number of applicants to pass the test.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index surged by 1.44 percent to 2,205.5 on Friday, climbing above the 2,200 psychological level, bolstered by the Shanghai Securities News report that renminbi qualified foreign institutional investors quota approvals may be resumed by the central bank after a two-month suspension.

The CSRC has placed a moratorium on IPOs since the end of last year, ostensibly to placate small investors who blamed the drain of investment funds for the losses they took in the bear market.

At the time, more than 800 enterprises had applied to go public, raising the specter of an oversupply of shares that could plunge the market into deeper despair. The CSRC's move to return the filings to issuers for further review was seen as a bid to block the flood.

Meanwhile, the authority has imposed the "most stringent" inspections into companies awaiting IPO approval.

The CSRC in early April randomly selected 30 enterprises to accept special financial checks from the CSRC.

China Securities Journal said on Friday that the CSRC has finished inspecting the first 15 companies, and will examine the reports submitted by the other 15 next week.

Small investors are concerned about a flood of new shares affecting the fragile equity market, which saw a major rally in the first two months in 2013, before experiencing corrections amid concerns about liquidity and a weaker-than-expected macro economic situation.

"I hope IPO approval can be slowed, because investors need time to regain confidence in the market," said a female surnamed Yu, who was watching market performance at a brokerage of Guotai Junan Securities Co in Shanghai.

"There were too many refinancing programs and IPOs in the stock market. The CSRC needs to continue its inspections and keep companies with potential problems out of the market," said Din Ji, 29, a small investor based in Hangzhou.

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