Superstitious investors jittery as bad omen actor Adan Cheng releases movie; Cheng has appeared in some 17 television series since 1992. The market fell while 11 of them were on air

Superstitious investors jittery as bad omen actor Cheng releases movie

Friday, 29 March, 2013, 8:06pm

Jeanny Yu jeanny.yu@scmp.com

Bulls beware. Adam Cheng Siu-chow is coming to a cinema near you.

The Hong Kong actor, whose every new television drama is said to herald a stock market crash, is returning to the big screen with a new release on April 4. And stock investors are scared stiff.

“It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many locals, especially retail investors, are very superstitious,” said Ben Kwong Man-bun, chief operating officer at KGI Asia. “If everyone buys into this negative association and starts selling in panic, a sharp fall is inevitable.”

The new movie, Saving General Yang, is based on the legendary generals of the famed Yang family during the early years of the Northern Song dynasty. Cheng plays the senior General Yang, who fought a battle to defend the Song’s borders from foreign invaders.

The 66-year-old Cheng’s tryst with infamy began in 1992, when TVB launched a drama series called The Greed of Man. Cheng played the role of Ting Hai, an actor who makes a killing by short-selling derivatives and stocks in a bear market. The Hang Seng Index fell up to 13 per cent while the show was on. His bad influence on the index has been dubbed the “Ting Hai effect” since, and has proven largely true over the past decade. Cheng has appeared in some 17 television series since 1992. The market fell while 11 of them were on air. In 1997, when another series, Legend of Yung Ching , was running, the index fell below 10,000 points. TVB also happened to launch a new Cheng series in 1998, when the Asian financial crisis erupted, and in 2000, when the technology bubble burst.Cheng could be the rare actor who makes even stocks weep. In a report last year, CLSA said the more tragic his television series were, the worse the market did.

But strategists see an opportunity in the trouble that Cheng is reputed to stir up. This, they are advocating, could be a good time for investors to cash out as fresh worries over the euro zone and liquidity outflow take root.

“The market sentiment is already weak and Adam Cheng’s new play might be a perfect selling excuse,” said Kenny Tang Sing-hing, general manager of the securities business division of AMTD Financial Planning. “China’s key meetings in March failed to bring any joy, and earnings results are a bit disappointing. The market is already very frustrated.”

The Hang Seng Index has been the first quarter’s worst performer among the stock markets in developed economies, with the exception of Italy. At 22,299.63 points, the index has lost 1.6 per cent so far this year.

Hong Kong stocks, in fact, had a good run from September, riding the strong tide of incoming liquidity. But with hot money flowing back to the US market as the economy there picks up and the US dollar strengthens, the local index has taken a hit.

Tang said there was a chance the gauge could fall back to around 21,500 until it found any support.

Saving General Yang is fine, but who will save the market?

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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