Hong Kong shares slumped 3.44 per cent yesterday amid near-panic selling as investors took cover from Beijing's moves to curb equity speculation and fears about the local property market. In its heaviest loss in points terms since March last year, the Hang Seng Index closed 497.18 points down at 13,924.34. Red chips, mainland-backed investment companies based in Hong Kong, were particularly hard hit by the slump. But Hong Kong stocks listed in London tried hard to reverse the drop last night, reclaiming the 14,000 level with the help of bargain hunting and surging US stocks. The Hang Seng London Reference Index soared 161.06 points or 1.16 per cent to close at 14,085.4. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had hit a record high of 7,690.77 points, up 114.94, by 2.30 am Hong Kong time. Economic data from the United States also helped underpin Hong Kong stocks in London, as American monthly retail sales came in lower than expected, recording a fall for the third month in a row.