24 October 2016
It says a lot about the stock market when the stock market operator itself is on a tear. HKEx is up HK$100 this month. Photo: HKEJ
It says a lot about the stock market when the stock market operator itself is on a tear. HKEx is up HK$100 this month. Photo: HKEJ

How has the stock market changed your life?

Hello, one week one entry. Goodbye, one person one account.

The new policy restricting Shenzhen residents’ entry to Hong Kong was supposed to severely hurt local retailers and depress business sentiment in Hong Kong.

Instead, there is overwhelming optimism over the looming Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock trading link and a likely double increase in capital flows to the local bourse.

That comes after Chinese regulators canceled a policy that limited one investor to a single securities trading account.

Now any Chinese citizen can have up to 20 brokerage accounts, which means that theoretically, there can be billions of cross-border stock trading accounts.

That is perhaps the prime reason the Hong Kong stock market is going from strength to strength and why Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx, 00388.HK) is up HK$100 (US$12.90) this month.

At more than HK$300 per share, the stock has some way to go before it reaches its limit.

Gray traders, gold and jewelry retailers and milk powder carriers can take a break.

They have made too much money in the past year. Why not put that money in stocks?

As the market turns maximum bullish, people get richer, with more money to spend. A new retail era is just beginning.

No more half-empty Fook Lam Moon restaurant, a favorite haunt of the rich and famous in Wan Chai, but a bustling place filled with market chatter.

Cashed-up stock punters, not mainland officials spending government money, will be ordering the best and most expensive dishes on the menu.

Also, forget McDonald’s, Cafe de Coral or Tsui Wah. Think Petrus, Nicholini’s or Felix.

Those who did not travel during Easter could be lining up a trip during the golden week holiday next month.

Shoppers might be looking beyond scoring Chanel discounts in Canton Road to paying more in Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

And they certainly can afford Lane Crawford, so Uniqlo will look like a real bargain.

Did they not upgrade to the latest smartphone? Apple’s iPhone 6 is nice and high end but the Galaxy S6 is more expensive.

Finally, they’re going to be picky with their ride. The tram is too slow and the MTR too crowded, so they could be calling Uber or Fly Taxi. After all, time is money.

But I’m afraid this is all a fantasy. We’ve seen it all before. One of the first signs is when you can’t find the Hong Kong Economic Journal in 7-Eleven.

Nevertheless, welcome to a new era driven by the Hong Kong stock exchange, officially the largest of its kind in the world.

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EJ Insight writer

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