Are stock investors haunted by the Ghost Month?
The Hungry Ghost Month is the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar. During this time, the Chinese observe rituals and superstitions, mostly focused on things that should be avoided because these are believed to bring bad luck.
In business, launching a new venture during the Ghost Month is believed to be inauspicious and is bound not to last. Superstitious buyers also shun buying properties during the month — whether it’s a new house or a car — as it would bring misfortune.
Ghost Month taboos have also shown to be a contributing factor in the performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange index, which historically goes into a slump as investors typically hold off on trading.
“Since most Chinese investors do not want to shell out for investments during this period, we see less trading activity,” Jervin S. de Celis, trader at Timson Securities, Inc. said in a mobile message on Aug. 7.
Philippine stock market performance over the years
PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel G. Lisbona affirmed this, saying monthly returns of the market covering 2010 to Aug 14, 2018 showed that the bourse was down seven times and up only twice in the month of August.
“On the average the month would decline 2.01% from start to finish,” Mr. Lisbona said in a text message. He added that the largest percentage decline was in 2013 when August generated a loss of 8.49% for the month.
“Based on this, there is an impact on the market,” Mr. Lisbona said.
However, analysts believe that other factors still make a bigger impact on the stock market.
“I think political and macreconomic news play a big role as well in the movement of our index during this period,” Mr. de Celis said.
He cited for instance, the markets 500-point decline over two days in August 2015 when China’s currency was facing devaluation. In August 2016, rate hike fears dragged the PSEi while in last year, North Korea’s ballistic missile tests raised concern among investors as well.
But when such crisis comes during the ghost month, investors should take the opportunity to buy profitable shares at low prices.
“It depends upon the investors if they want to stay cautious during this month since we really cannot tell which stock will be heavily sold but when stocks, especially the fundamentally sound ones, get oversold, that can give investors the chance to buy the companies at cheaper valuations.” — BusinessWorld Research with a report from Janina C. Lim