Hong Kong stocks end lower as tech firms chilled by trade dispute concerns

Planned China trip by US Treasury Secretary fails to give much cheer, with property stocks also among the big decliners

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 April, 2018, 9:09am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 April, 2018, 11:13pm

Hong Kong stocks closed lower on Monday, with tech stocks falling anew on concerns over the industry outlook and tension between the US and China over the sector, while property firms dipped on the prospect of higher borrowing costs.

The Hang Seng Index ended down 0.54 per cent, or 163.93 points, at 30,254.40, having fallen 1.3 per cent last week. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or the H-share gauge, retreated 0.45 per cent to 12,000.16.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was considering a trip to China and was cautiously optimistic of reaching an agreement with Beijing that bridges their differences over trade, but that was not enough to he said at a meeting in Washington over the weekend. However the news did not provide much support to the market.

“In the short term the market will remain jittery because of US-China trade friction and weakness in Asian markets,” said Louis Wong, dealing director at Philip Securities.

Technology stocks were big losers, feeling the effects of forecasts last week by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest contract chip maker, that trailed analysts’ estimates and of a war of words between the US and China over US sanctions on Chinese telecoms firm ZTE.

Sunny Optical Technology plunged 6.9 per cent to HK$132.70 and AAC Technologies Holdings slid 1.9 per cent to HK$119. Tencent Holdings fell 1.6 per cent to HK$394.

Property developers retreated on concerns that rising borrowing costs in the city’s interbank market might deflate the city’s housing market and dent their profitability. New World Development slid 1.06 per cent to HK$11.20 and Sino Land lost 0.9 per cent to HK$13.06.

Among gainers, Legend Holdings, a Chinese company with businesses from information technology to property and financial services, gained 1 per cent to HK$25.15. It has been picked by China’s regulator as the first company in a trial programme that will allow major shareholders of H-share companies to trade their shares freely in Hong Kong’s stock market. 

Founding and major shareholders control almost 90 per cent of Legend, but under current rules, shares held by founders or major shareholders in Hong Kong listed mainland firms cannot be bought and sold like common shares.

In mainland China markets on Monday, the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1 per cent, or 3.53 points, to 3,068.01, the CSI 300 Index of big-caps added 0.15 per cent, or 5.47 points, to 3,766.33 and the ChiNext gauge of smaller companies fell 1.7 per cent to 1,753.05.