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“Lucky 8s” Extend to Stock Trading in China

Last week, The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article by James T. Areddy about the influence of numerology on Chinese stock trading. As we’ve blogged about before, belief in lucky numbers is a huge aspect of Chinese culture. The article highlights how the value of a stock can hinge on the presence of “lucky 8s” in numeric ticker symbols or share prices, while a 4, considered unlucky, can have an equally destabilizing effect. With private individuals constituting 60% to 80% of all Chinese traders, that’s a lot of people betting on a scant few numbers.

Financial heavyweights like Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch aren’t thrilled at the influence that seemingly random numbers exert on the country’s economy. “This is a reflection of a very immature market,” Jing Ulrich, chairman of China equities for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., told the Journal. Still, as with the case of investor Yan Caigen, who bought 30,000 shares of a cement company because the stock’s ticker code held double 8s and subsequently turned a profit of $50,000, a little luck is a good thing to have.