U.S. investors have borne the brunt of an executive order signed by President Trump that was meant to hit the Chinese military by curtailing access to American dollars.
The order, which takes effect Monday, bans Americans from trading the securities of dozens of Chinese companies. People who invested in those stocks are upset after a confusing series of events over the past two weeks. During that time, U.S. officials, the New York Stock Exchange and brokerage firms sent mixed signals over which stocks would be prohibited and how quickly the investors were required to sell them.
Mr. Trump signed the order in November, after losing his bid for re-election. The order’s goal was to stop U.S. investors’ money from supporting Beijing’s efforts to modernize its military.
The order initially applied to 31 companies and has since grown to 35. Many are private firms with little connection to Wall Street, but a few have American depositary receipts listed on the NYSE. These include three large Chinese telecom carriers, as well as oil-and-gas driller Cnooc Ltd. , which was added to the blacklist in December.
Investors were taken for a wild ride after the NYSE said Dec. 31 that it would delist the ADRs of the three telecom companies, only to reverse itself several days later and halt the delistings, before doing yet another U-turn and proceeding with the delistings after all.