Thursday, September 11, 2008

HK shares end at 18-month low following regional markets

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang SengIndex plunged 3.06 percent to a near 18-month low below a key support level Thursday, following Asian stock markets.

The Hang Seng Index fell 611.06 points or 3.06 percent to 19, 388.72, its lowest close since March 20, 2007. The index traded between 19,220.28 and 19,854.82 during the session. Turnover rose to 69.60 billion HK dollars from Wednesday's 65.31 billion HK dollars .

Hong Kong followed the decline in Asian stock markets in the aftermath of a disappointing Lehman Brothers turnaround plan, which failed to quell worries about the health of mainstay financial services players.

The China Enterprises Index, which tracks the movement of China- registered companies traded in Hong Kong, fell 4.2 percent to 10, 052.03, after Chinese mainland's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 3.3 percent on institutional sales for client redemptions.

The Hang Seng Properties Index fell 4.1 percent to 22,165.09. Sun Hung Kai Properties shed 1.6 percent to 91.30 HK dollars, ahead of its full-year results. Sun Hung Kai, Hong Kong's biggest developer by market capitalization, said after market close that its net profit in its last fiscal year was 27.60 billion HK dollars, up from 21.23 billion HK dollars in the previous fiscal year.

Cheung Kong Holdings, one of the biggest housing companies controlled by tycoon Li Ka-shing, tumbled 4.0 percent to 99.70 HK dollars. Sino Land fell 7.6 percent to 11 HK dollars, and Hang Lung Properties dropped 5.5 percent to 20.80 HK dollars.

Several Chinese metals producers also fell sharply. Jiangxi Copper fell 7.6 percent to 8.63 HK dollars. Chalco fell 3.6 percent to 5.40 HK dollars.

China Mobile, the largest mobile phone operator in the country and the market's largest stock measured by capitalization, fell 5.29 percent to 77 HK dollars on the rumors that operator portability was to be put in place on the Chinese mainland.

Other Chinese telecom stocks also tumbled, with China Unicom down 4.81 percent, China Telecom down 5.07 percent and Netcom down4.54 percent.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, the sole market operator, was down 2.95 percent to 93.85 HK dollars.


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