Hang Seng Index

Hong Kong stocks end lower, reflecting first pullback in eight trading sessions

Hang Seng Index sheds 404 points, or 0.9pc, reversing course after a seven session advance lifted the benchmark 5.2pc

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 January, 2018, 9:16am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 January, 2018, 6:36pm

Hong Kong stocks pulled back close lower on Thursday, halting a seven-day winning streak, as Chinese financial shares posted a broad decline.

The Hang Seng Index ended down 0.9 per cent, or 304.24 points, at 32,654.45, reflecting its first negative performance in eight sessions.

On Wednesday, the index touched a record high 3,008.46 during intraday trading, and ended with 5.2 per cent cumulative gain over seven sessions.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or the H-shares index, also fell for the first time in 20 sessions, ending down 1.7 per cent, or 232.77 points, to 13,388.16.

“The market was overbought and a correction is healthy now,” said Ben Kwong, executive director for KGI Asia.

Turnover reached HK$187.7 billion (US$24.01 billion) almost unchanged from Wednesday.

Tencent Holdings alone was responsible for a 78 point drop in the index, with its shares down 2.4 per cent to HK$458.00.

Chinese banks and insurers fell across the board, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China sliding 3 per cent to HK$7.06, China Construction Bank Corp falling 1.8 per cent to HK$8.57. Among insurers, Ping An Insurance was down 2.5 per cent to HK$91.7, and China Life Insurance was off 2.4 per cent to HK$26.3.

Still, oil shares gained on the back of rising crude futures. PetroChina advanced 2.3 per cent to HK$6.35, Sinopec rose 1.9 per cent to HK$6.98, and CNOOC added 0.6 per cent to HK$12.90.

“Oil stocks are doing well as the US dollar is weakening, and some of them were undervalued,” Kwong said.

Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index also snapped a seven-session bull streak, closing down 0.3 per cent at 3,548.31.

Liquidity remained tight, as the Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor) mostly moved higher.

Combined turnover for Shanghai and Shenzhen decreased to 581.4 billion yuan (US$91.97 billion), down 3 per cent from Wednesday.

Among other main indexes, the large-cap CSI300 dropped 0.6 per cent to 4,365.08. The Shenzhen Composite Index and the ChiNext Price Index shed 0.4 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively to 1,953.3 and 1,810.83.

Shares of China’s Leshi internet Information & Technology plunged by the daily 10 per cent limit for a second day to 12.42 yuan, after trading resumed on Wednesday.

Sinovel, a Beijing-based wind turbine maker, declined 3.3 per cent to 1.48 yuan, after the firm was found guilty by a US court for stealing US trade secrets.

Separately, Jiangsu Zhongda New Material, a packaging material supplier, made history in the A-share market by falling the 10 per cent daily limit for the 20th straight session since trading resumed on December 29th.

The company said earlier this month its major shareholders have pledged large amounts of shares, which face imminent risk of forced liquidation as the prices have plummeted.

In December, the top securities regulator launched a probe into the company’s former controller Zhuang Min for alleged offences regarding information disclosure.