Hang Seng loses US$220 billion in November pullback as Omicron, Macau gambling crackdown add to Chinese tech earnings woes
- Hang Seng Index fell for a third day to a 14-month low as Omicron sapped risk appetite while a sell-off in Macau casino operators prolonged
- An improvement in official Chinese manufacturing data failed to shore up sentiment amid growing Covid-19 infection cases sparked by the new variant
The Hang Seng Index retreated 1.1 per cent to 23,591.68 at the close of Tuesday trading. The benchmark slid 7.7 per cent this month to a level not seen since September last year, erasing US$220 billion of market value from its members. The Hang Seng Tech Index slipped 1 .2 per cent while the Shanghai Composite Index was little changed.
Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings and Meituan declined 0.7 per cent to 2.9 per cent, pacing index losers, following a poor third-quarter earnings reports. China Resources Land and Mengniu Dairy both declined by at least 4.8 per cent.
“A new, highly contagious, virus strain could trigger growth downgrades, worsen risk sentiment,” BlackRock strategists said in a note to clients on November 29. “We still favour equities for now but would change our stance if vaccines or treatments were to prove futile.”
Macau’s largest casino junket operator Suncity Group said its controlling shareholder Alvin Chau Cheok-wa offered to step down as chairman and executive director, following his arrest over the weekend. Its shares sank 48 per cent to HK$0.13.