13 December 2019

HSI tumbles on bad loan data

Hong Kong stocks lost nearly 2 percent Wednesday as investors dumped banking counters after a spike in a key bad loan data.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index retreated 1.9 percent to close at 22,463 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index gave up 2.7 percent to finish at 10,276. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.8 percent to 2,087 points. 

Investors were lukewarm to a raft of reforms announced by the Communist Party at its just-ended third plenum, putting pressure on stocks across the board.

But the biggest drag on the market were banking plays which suffered heavy selling after the Chinese government said the non-performing loan ratio of commercial banks and the balance of bad loans had risen in the third quarter.

Major lenders such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (01398.HK), Bank of China (03988.HK), Bank of Communications (03328.HK) and China Merchants Bank (03986.HK) slumped more than 3 percent.

Women’s shoemaker Belle International (01880.HK) was the worst performer among blue chips, crashing 4.7 percent to a three-year low.

The retail sector was the only bright spot, led by snacks importer CEC International (00759.HK) which added 11.7 percent. The stock is up 74 percent since October.

Garment retailers Bossini International (00592.HK) and I.T.(00999.HK) gained 5.3 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

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