Shanghai Cracks

By: Prieur du Plessis | Mon, Aug 31, 2009
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As mentioned in yesterday's edition of "Words from the Wise", the Chinese Shanghai Composite Index has now recorded four consecutive down-weeks. The Index witnessed another massive sell-off this morning, declining by a further 6.7% to take its total loss since the peak of August 4 to 23.2%.

The losses happened on concerns of large Chinese share issuance and slowing bank lending. The banking regulator has already instructed lenders to raise reserves to 150% of their non-performing loans by the end of this year - up from 134.8% at the end of June, and the central bank has increased money-market rates to drain liquidity.

I have written a fair bit over the past two weeks about the overbought level of most global stock markets and also how China - a leading market on the way up - could be the catalyst for triggering a reversal of fortune in global stock markets.

Of the global stock markets I monitor, the Shanghai Composite (2,667) is the only one to have breached its 50-day moving average (3,125) and now has the key 200-day line (2,476) firmly in its sight.


Interestingly, emerging markets have now seen two back-to-back weeks of declines and have been underperforming developed markets for four weeks running, as shown by the declining trend of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index relative to the Dow Jones World Index. Could this be a sign of a broad retrenchment in risk appetite?


A global stock market correction could take the form of either a pullback or a consolidation (i.e. ranging). I suspect we may see at least some degree of reversion to the 200-day moving averages in a number of instances, but will be watching closely to ascertain whether we are dealing with a normal short-term correction or a more significant move threatening the primary trend. In the meantime, sit tight and be cautious as markets hopefully realign with the reality on the ground.

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Prieur du Plessis

Author: Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis

With 25 years' experience in investment research and portfolio management, Dr Prieur du Plessis is one of the most experienced and well-known investment professionals in South Africa. More than 1 000 of his articles on investment-related topics have been published in various regular newspaper, journal and Internet columns. He also published a book, Financial Basics: Investment, in 2002.

He holds the following degrees: BSc (Quantity Surveying) (Cape Town), HonsB (B & A) (cum laude) (Stellenbosch), MBA (cum laude) (Stellenbosch); and DBA (Doctor of Financial Management) (Stellenbosch).

Prieur is chairman of the Plexus group of companies, which he founded in 1995. Previously he was general manager: portfolio management at Sanlam, responsible for the management of investment portfolios with total assets in excess of $5 billion.

Plexus is a pioneer in the mutual fund industry and has achieved a number of firsts under Prieur's leadership. These include the authoritative Plexus Survey, a quarterly analysis of the consistency of the performance of unit trust management companies, the Plexus Offshore Survey, the Plexus Unit Trust Indices, and the PlexCrown Fund Ratings.

Plexus is the South African partner of John Mauldin, American author of the most widely distributed investment newsletter in the world, and also has an exclusive licensing agreement with California-based Research Affiliates for managing and distributing its enhanced Fundamental Index™ methodology in the Pan-African area.

In 2001 Prieur received the Santam/AHI Business Leader of the Year award for corporate leadership, business acumen and entrepreneurial flair. He was also profiled in the book South Africa's Leading Managers (2006). Plexus received the AHI/Old Mutual Enterprise of the Year award in 1997 and was also included in the book South Africa's Most Promising Companies (2005).

Prieur is 52 years old and lives with his wife, TV producer and presenter Isabel Verwey, and two children in Welgemoed, Cape Town. His recreational activities include long-distance running, motor cycling and reading. He belongs to the Cape Town Club, Johannesburg Country Club, Gordon's Bay Yacht Club and Swiss Social & Sports Club.

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