Of the 28 shares listed on the new board which seeks to attract capital-hungry mid-cap firms, 26 counters dropped on the day and one was unchanged, but only due to continuous trade-stops due to built-in range limits.
After the average price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio hit a new record high, the board followed the fate of the Hong Kong main board and began shedding recent gains with noticeable vengeance, SinaFinance reported.
Others said it might attract substandard companies that would not ordinarily survive on the established capital markets in both mainland cities, as well as across the de facto border in Hong Kong.
On the drawing board for over a decade, the GEM was envisioned as a “Chinese Nasdaq,” hoping to help domestic SMEs with ambitious business plans – backed by innovative operations – to compete in the elite world of listed firms.
Following a long and arduous process – including intermittent delays to wait out various global market downturns – the country’s securities watchdog finally approved the board for launch last month, with the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) also looking to bring in more diverse forms of investment to a national economy no longer able to rely solely on foreign consumers for income.
Analysts had cautioned that the Shenzhen GEM board should brace itself for high valuations fueled by enthusiastic investors, a phenomenon that could possibly destabilize the new stock market over the next few months, PRC media reported.
"We will see big ups and downs in the new market; the price fluctuation is always huge on second-tier boards, particularly so in the mainland stock markets," said a DBS Vickers analyst.
Relatively high valuations are already holding their own after nearly a month of trading on the board, with Bode Energy Equipment (300023) currently topping the list of 28 firms on the GEM with a P/E ratio of 133.9 times.
In comparison, the average historical P/E ratio of Shenzhen-listed shares is 39 times and that of stocks on the main Shanghai Stock Exchange is 27. This compares against a recent average of just 17 times for Hong Kong-listed shares.
But with Tuesday’s big drops for the lion’s share of GEM listcos, some investors are sure to see bargains where others see overpricing, and the upward valuation spiral is likely to kick back into gear.