Hang Seng Index

HK stocks vulnerable

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 October, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 October, 1998, 12:00am

HONGKONG (October 12): ONE would have thought that a brigade of Egyptian tanks, with Spiro Agnew in the vanguard, were trundling up Ice House Street yesterday to judge by the panicky reactions of investors to world events.

The Hang Seng Index dived by 9.95 points to close at 499.05 - only a dismal few points off the 1973 'low' of 492.02 recorded in July.

Determined sellers, masochists might be a better description, were dumping stock on an unwilling market in the morning, causing some very sharp losses among the leaders, before shrewder heads and bargain hunters moved in towards the closing bell. When the dust settled, prices among the leaders still did not look so good. Hutchison's finished 30 cents down at $13.10, Jardines lost $1.50 to $70.50 and Hongkong Land were 20 cents lower at $10.30.

Turnover Colony-wide came to only $50.4 million.

For a stock market which cheerfully ignored the devaluation of the U.S. dollar last year, and in the past has paid about as much attention to world political changes as the man in the moon, yesterday's performance was remarkable. Nobody with a grasp of investor psychology seriously believes that the Middle East fighting can have had an effect of the shares of Kowloon Motor Bus - down 15 cents at $8.85.