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Hong Kong stocks close lower on Wall Street fall
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19:16, November 12, 2008

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Hong Kong stocks dipped 101.81 points, or 0.73 percent, to close at 13,939.09 on Wednesday, on the overnight Wall Street fall and lingering concerns about slowing earnings at property developers.

Turnover went down to 42.24 billion HK dollars (5.45 billion U.S. dollars) from Tuesday's 54.39 billion HK dollars (7.03 billion U.S. dollars).

The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened at 14,155.26 points, 0.81 percent higher than the previous close, but it slid to 13,626.31 before it rebouded following mainland stock markets.

Analysts and traders said they remain cautious about the market's outlook for the next two weeks, and expect the index to move between 13,000 and 14,000 points.

"Another batch of fund redemptions is expected to finish by the middle of November, so it's likely the market will see more pressure in the near term," said Steven Leung, a director of institutional sales at UOB KayHian Securities.

The Hang Seng property sub-index underperformed the main index, dropping 3.4 percent to 15,887.33 points on reports developers are the latest firms to take the brunt of the slowing economy and the negative-wealth effect from the equities market.

Cheung Kong fell 3.7 percent to 69.90 HK dollars, after the South China Morning Post reported the company had slashed property prices at its mainland projects by 40 percent. Sun Hung Kai dropped 4 percent to 63.00 HK dollars and Henderson Land closed 2.3 percent lower at 27.55 HK dollars.

Heavyweight HSBC slid 2 percent to 86.25 HK dollars after investors learned the lender's U.S. operations had fared worse than expected. Credit Suisse cut its forecast of HSBC's earnings for 2009-2010 by 28 percent to 40 percent on higher impairment charges.

"It's better for investors to stay on the sidelines, as the selling pressure in HSBC and property counters will likely persistfor a while,' said Prudential Brokerage's associate director Kingston Lin.

The building material and infrastructure stocks continued their rally. Sinoma was up 6.88 percent, CNBM up 1.05 percent, and Anhui Conch up 3.98 percent. China Comm Cons was up 0.7 per cent, China Railway up 0.8 per cent, but China Rail Cons down 0.7 percent.

The six mainland banks closed mixed. ICBC was down 0.52 percent, CCB up 1.68 percent, Bank of China down 0.91 percent after denying talks over acquisition of HBOS.

With New York oil futures breaking 60 U.S. dollars, CNOOC, the largest mainland offshore oil producer, was down 1.3 percent and Sinopec Corp, the largest mainland oil refiner, down 0.85 per cent, but PetroChina, the largest mainland oil firm, was up 0.67 percent. (One U.S. dollar = 7.74 HK dollars)

Source: Xinhua

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