22 January 2019

Weak PMI drags down Hang Seng Index as Sinopec surges

China’s disappointing manufacturing data weighed on Hong Kong shares Thursday as investors worried about a further slowdown in the country’s economic growth.

The benchmark Heng Sang Index gave up as much as 366 points in the morning before closing 270 points, or 1.19 percent, lower at 22,394 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, the main gauge for H shares, fell 0.79 percent to 9,978. The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.18 percent to end at 2,138 points.

The flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a measure of the country’s manufacturing activity, fell to a seven-month low of 48.3 in February from the previous month’s final reading of 49.5. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Most blue chips ended lower. Lenovo Group (00992.HK) tumbled 4.5 percent after market research firm Canalys said the firm’s smartphone market share has dropped from 14 percent to 12 percent in the last quarter of 2013, but remained in the second place behind Samsung. The news made Lenovo the worst-performing blue chip for the session.

Tencent (00700.HK), which announced late Wednesday it has acquired a 20 percent stake in consumer review site, lost more than 3 percent for the day.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) (00386.HK), the world’s second-largest refined oil supplier in terms of the number of gas stations, surged 9.4 percent after the firm revealed its plan to sell up to 30 percent of its retail oil business to private investors. It was the best performer among HSI constituents for the session. 

Mainland lenders all saw notable declines as liquidity has further tightened.

Menswear brand Cabbeen Fashion (02030.HK) shot up as much as 17.3 percent before ending 9.6 percent higher after reporting a 50 percent growth in 2013 net earnings.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]




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