Almost half of China's stock market won't be trading today

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It should be a quiet day on China’s stock market today, at least based off the number of companies that will be actually trading.

In all 1,200 firms – making up around 40% of the 2,808 companies listed in China – will not trade today, according to a report from Hong Kong’s Standard newspaper.

The figure represents around 40% of all firms listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses, the article says.

Reasons given by companies requesting suspension of trading in the mainland varied from possible launch of non-public offerings to giving share options to staff. While all legitimate reasons to request a temporary trading halt, the reality is that many firms are looking to escape the carnage gripping Chinese stock market at present.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index has lost 30% from June 12, following a 150% surge in the 12 months beforehand. On Tuesday 58 stocks on the index rose compared to 812 which fell.

Smaller markets such as the CSI 500, an index of smaller-cap stocks, and the tech-heavy ChiNext index in Shenzhen have lost as much as 42% from early June.

Understandably, there is a degree of scepticism being expressed by some investors.

Alex Wong Kwok-ying, director of Ample Finance Group, told the Standard that “mainland investors do not understand what happened. Such suspensions will further hurt investors’ confidence. The potential buyers will be scared away thinking of possible suspensions.”

A similar mindset was expressed by Xu Lei, an investment director at Shenwan Hongyuan Securities in Shanghai, who believes that while the suspensions will work in the short term, in the mid-to-long term, institutional investors will sell other shares that are still trading.

While 40% of the market is seemingly off the radar today, it will be interesting to see which way those who are still actively trading will perform today.

Will losses continue to mount, or will this be the day the increasingly-desperate actions from Beijing to support stocks begin to work?

We’ll find out at from 11.30am AEST.

You can read more from the Standard here.

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