Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index followed the mainland market to close lower on Monday.
The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.68 percent to finish at 1,991 points, the first time the gauge closed below the 2,000 level since July last year.
Reflecting the dampened sentiment on the mainland, the HSI gave up 204 points or 0.88 percent to end the day at 22,928. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, the main gauge for H shares, dropped 1.25 percent to 10,040 points.
Nearly all the blue chips closed in the red. Mobile internet giant Tencent (00700.HK) fell 1.6 percent while insurer AIA Group (01299.HK) was down 1.8 percent.
Bucking the trend, Lenovo Group (00992.HK) rose 1.4 percent after Morgan Stanley raised its target price and maintained an “overweight” rating on the stock; it was the day’s best-performing blue chip.
China lenders tumbled after China’s benchmark money-market rate jumped the most in seven months as pre-holiday cash demand and corporate tax payments drained funds from the banking system. The seven-day repurchase rate, a gauge of interbank funding availability, surged 153 basis points to 6.32 percent.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (01398.HK) dived 2 percent. China Construction Bank (00939.HK), Bank of Communications (03328.HK) and Bank of China (03988.HK) were down in a range of 0.9 to 1.8 percent.
Mainland insurers also witnessed strong selling pressure with Ping An Insurance Group finishing 2.55 percent lower; it was the worst-performing blue chip of the day.
Meanwhile, Haier Electronics Group (01169.HK) slumped 6.5 percent amid rumors that private equity Carlyle had been selling its stake in the home appliance manufacturing giant at a 9.6 percent discount to its last closing price.
Glorious Property Holdings (00845.HK) nosedived after shareholders rejected an offer by Chinese billionaire Zhang Zhirong to take the company private. The counter fell 27 percent, its biggest decline since Oct. 2, 2009.
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