China stocks fall most in seven months on “Black Monday”

Start-up board index ChiNext tumbles 3 pc, as smaller firms are among top decliners

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 July, 2017, 9:17am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 July, 2017, 10:33pm

Hong Kong stocks rose to a new two-year high, led by Chinese insurers. Mainland stocks however tumbled on what analysts dubbed as “Black Monday” after China’s financial work conference over the weekend sparked fears of prolonged period of regulatory scrutiny in the financial sector.

The Hang Seng Index rose slightly by 0.3 per cent on Monday, or 81.35 to a new two-year high 26,470.58 and marking the sixth day of increases. Turnover was at HK$93.22 billion (US$11.95 billion).

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, also known as the H-share index of Chinese companies listed in the city, added 0.5 per cent, or 55.12 points, to 10,783.19.

Chinese insurers led gains, with Ping An gaining 2.27 per cent to HK$58.5 and China Life rising 3.2 per cent to HK$25.8. Internet giant Tencent also edged up 0.1 per cent to HK$285.

Market sentiment was boosted after official data showed China’s economy expanded 6.9 per cent in the second quarter, beating an estimated 6.8 per cent growth from a poll of analysts by Reuters.

In the mainland however, Chinese stocks tumbled on Monday, as top policy makers emphasised on curbing financial risks, stoking concerns about increased scrutiny of the financial system, triggering a decline of nearly 500 stocks by their daily limit of 10 per cent.

The Nasdaq-style ChiNext tumbled 5.1 per cent or 89.14 points to 1,656.43, the lowest since January 2015 and the Shenzhen Composite Index tumbled 4.3 per cent, or 80.47 points, to 1,800.54

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.4 per cent, or 45.95 points, to 3,176.47 after dropping by as much as 2.2 per cent, while the CSI 300 – which tracks the large caps listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen – dropped 1.1 per cent or 39.53 points, to 3,663.56.

The work conference, which is held every five years, has delivered a signal that the government may kick off a new round of scrutiny for the financial sector, so as to curb financial bubbles and eliminate excessive liquidity, according to analysts from Shanshan Finance and Sinolink Securities.

“There’s also a concern that the bubble of small-cap stocks has yet to burst and high earnings risks could emerge from it,” said Shanshan’s Wu.