Hong Kong stocks end lower, dragged by financials

Hang Seng Index ends 0.8 per cent lower at 21,634

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 December, 2016, 9:17am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 December, 2016, 10:14pm

Financial stocks led Hong Kong’s main share index to a lower close on Thursday, with the weakness expected to continue, according to analysts.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down 0.8 per cent, or 173.6 points, at 21,636.2 points. The H-share index lost 1.41 per cent, or 131.39 points, to 9,200.24 points.

Chinese financial stocks led the losses.

Ping An Insurance dropped 1.53 per cent to HK$38.60 while China Construction Bank finished down 1.27 per cent at HK$5.45.

“We expect the Hang Seng index to remain weak before the holiday season. It may not be a good time to buy stocks,” said analysts from Lukfook Financial in a research note.

Several index heavyweights were lower, with HSBC falling 0.85 per cent to HK$62.55, while Tencent lost 0.38 per cent to HK$181.50, and China Mobile was down 1.04 per cent to HK$80.90.

Sino Prosper Group Holdings surged as much as 14 per cent, before paring the gains to close 7.5 per cent higher. The company said it had reached an agreement with Qianhai China Railway Asset Management to jointly develop financial services business.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.07 per cent higher at 3,139.56 points. The index rose 1.1 per cent on Wednesday, the biggest daily percentage gain in more than a month.

The CSI 300, which tracks large companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, inched down 0.09 per cent to 3,335.67 points. The Shenzhen Component index eased 0.06 per cent to 10,306.92 points and the Nasdaq-style ChiNext index moved down 0.27 per cent to 1,986.27.

State-owned companies that are expected to have mixed-ownership reform were among the best performers. PetroChina gained 2.9 per cent to 8.16 yuan. China Nuclear Engineering Group Corp surged 5.8 per cent to 18.22 yuan.

China’s bond market rebounded after monetary authorities injected liquidity following a record sell-off earlier this week. The benchmark 10-year treasury futures for March delivery closed 0.83 per cent higher.

Overnight on Wall Street, US stocks dropped slightly, mainly because of losses in real estate and health care shares.