Who would have imagined after the Shanghai stock market plunged during a summer rout and upended most stock markets around the world, that it would end up being one of the best performing global stock markets for the year?
The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index inched down 0.9% to 3,539.18 on Thursday. This places the benchmark up 9.4% for all of 2015.
Meanwhile, if US stocks continue the downward direction they were moving on the last day of the year, both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average have a good chance of ending the year lower than they started.
On top of that, the Shanghai Composite outperformed most major markets in Europe and Asia.
Of course, that nearly 10% gain in Chinese stocks comes after a roller coaster ride that saw the market surge 60% in the first half of the year only to peak on June 12. At that point it began a plunge that saw a third of the market’s value evaporate in just three weeks.
In the months that followed the Chinese government instituted often heavy-handed edicts to prevent a total collapse. All initial public offerings and short selling were halted. In addition, upper management at brokerages were forced to buy shares in their companies and not allowed to sell.
The moves had their desired effect and the market managed to end the year up 25% from its August low.
Investors are cautious about 2016 as two major sources of concern hang over the market: When will the economy bottom out, and whether the market can withstand a potential equity supply glut as Beijing prepares to make company listings easier, and more market-oriented.
“It will not be a bull market next year, but the chance of a free fall is also slim,” Shen Weizheng, fund manager at Shanghai-based Ivy Capital told Reuters.
Reuters reports that seven fund managers forecasted on average that the Shanghai Composite Index would climb to 3,728.6 points by end-March, higher than the forecast made last month and about 5% above the current level. Most of the fund managers expected that it would exceed 3,700 points.