Mainland lenders and China Mobile (00941.HK) weighed on the Hong Kong benchmark index Monday, with the announcement that China’s manufacturing activity slowed to a three-month low in December.
The HSBC flash purchasing managers index fell to 50.5 for the month, compared with 50.8 in November, the bank said. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
The Hang Seng Index gave up 131 points, or 0.56 percent, to 23,114 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, the main gauge for H shares, slipped 0.85 percent to 10,932. The Shanghai Composite Index dropped even more, ending 1.6 percent lower at 2,160 points.
The disappointing economic data led to a wave of selling of China insurers and lenders. The four big insurers — Ping An Insurance Group (02318.HK), China Life Insurance (02628.HK), PICC Property & Casualty (02328.HK) and China Pacific Insurance (02601.HK) — fell between 1.4 percent and 2.8 percent.
Bank plays also slid, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (01398.HK) the biggest loser at 1.7 percent lower for the day.
China Mobile shed 1.2 percent for the day.
Energy plays also experienced selling pressure during the session. CNOOC (00883.HK) dropped 2.5 percent while Kunlun Energy (00135.HK) extended its losses to 3.1 percent, the worst among the blue chips.
Power Assets Holdings Ltd. (00006.HK) jumped 1.2 percent after unveiling a plan to float its electricity arm in Hong Kong through a sale of stapled units of HK Electric Investments Ltd. Power Assets is aiming for a valuation of up to HK$63.4 billion (US$8.18 billion) for the spinoff.
Meanwhile, mainland supermarket chain Wumart (01025.HK) said it has ended plans to acquire stores and an equity stake from rival CP Lotus Corp. (00121.HK). CP Lotus tumbled 4.3 percent by the market close.
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