Manic Market

About 18 months ago, Liu Junling, an upwardly mobile single Chinese woman, had a conversation with her boss, the CEO of a large, politically connected real estate developer in Shanghai. For the previous five years, people in China's largest city had lived and breathed the property market—buying apartments, if they could afford to, flipping them for higher prices, and buying again. The government really wanted to cool off the speculation, the boss told her. Probably not a good time to buy. Then, almost as an afterthought, he added: It might be a good time to buy stocks instead. Liu balked. "I...

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