The biggest losers in the Hong Kong stock market were...

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 January, 2016, 7:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 January, 2016, 7:50pm

Telecommunications, support services, mining and coal companies were among the main losers on Thursday, shedding about 1-2 per cent on average, as skittish investors continued to sell down Hong Kong stocks.

Among the biggest losers at the end of the day were China Kingstone Mining, down 19 per cent to HK$0.082, properties company Shanghai Zendai, down 18 per cent to 19 HK cents, and software and services firm ICO Group, dropping about 14.29 per cent to 60 HK cents.

Ben Kwong Man-bun, director of KGI Asia, said these industries were particularly hit because they came off a high base having risen on Wednesday. Hong Kong investors are still concerned about a potential fund outflow as well as oil prices and the movement of the Chinese currency, he added.

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Three quarters of the top 20 stocks with the highest turnover in the market saw losses on the day. Tencent slipped 0.22 per cent to HK$137.1, Hang Seng H-Share Index ETF shed about 0.41 per cent to HK$85.35 and HSBC fell about 1.32 per cent to HK$56.30.

Insurer Ping An rose about 0.42 per cent to HK$36.30 in Hong Kong’s market and flatlined in Shanghai to finish at 31.99 yuan. China Life Insurance, however, fell about 0.94 per cent to HK$21 in the local market but rallied about 1.59 per cent to 23.70 yuan in Shanghai.

Smaller Chinese life insurers are more vulnerable to sharp declines in China’s stock markets as they rely more stock investments, Fitch Ratings said in a recent report. These smaller players concentrate on low-margin savings-type products with short durations and are hence more exposed to equities for investment returns, analysts said.

“The short durations of their insurance liabilities might lead them to dispose of some of their investments at unfavourable prices,” the rating agency said.

Francis Lun, chief executive of GEO Securities, said the sell-off in the Hong Kong market was triggered mainly by worries that the downturn in the stock market and the global economy will continue, with an overnight crash in oil prices exacerbating the fears.

“The market is following the US markets, which fell sharply on Wednesday. Concerns about a global recession and pessimism spilled over to Hong Kong today,” Lun said. “I think investors just lost interest. Cash is king right now.”

Industries like utilities and infrastructure continue to hold their ground as they garner steady income that is less vulnerable to economic fluctuations, Lun added. Utilities company Cheung Kong Infrastructure rose about 4.26 per cent to HK$71.05.

Software, services and metals also made slight gains. “These share prices rebounded just because they were oversold,” Kwong said.