Hong Kong stocks close 1.22% lower

19:46, December 17, 2009      

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Hong Kong stocks dropped for the third straight day this week, plunging 264.11 points, or 1.22 percent, to close at 21,347.63 on Thursday.

After a 54-point higher opening, the benchmark Hang Seng Index soon edged up to the day high of 21,665.79 but only stayed in the positive ground briefly. The market then tumbled till hitting the day low of 21,218.90 minutes before the end of the session.

Turnover expanded from the previous day, totaling 66.6 billion HK dollars.

The overwhelming majority of the 42 constituent stocks were lower, with exceptions made by Wharf Holdings, CNOOC and ICBC.

Like the previous two sessions, the index was still mostly weighed down by banking shares and property companies.

Heavyweight HSBC fell 0.73 percent to 88.2 HK dollars, while China Mobile retreated 1.19 percent to 70.8 HK dollars. The sole market operator HK Exchange slid 1.38 percent to 135.5 HK dollars.

China Construction Bank and Bank of China fell to their lowest levels in more than two months, down 1.68 percent to 6.45 HK dollars and 1.46 percent to 4.04 HK dollars, respectively.

However, the country's largest commercial lender ICBC grew 0.16percent 6.31 HK dollars.

Due to increasing warnings about asset bubbles in Hong Kong, local property stocks fell cross the board.

New World led the loss by dropping 4.2 percent to 15.84 HK dollars and Henderson Land Development Co., which is controlled by billionaire Lee Shau-kee, slid 2.9 percent to 57.7 HK dollars. Cheung Kong, the business conglomerate led by flagship of Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing, slid 1.67 percent to 97.2 HK dollars.

Oil-related stocks put on mixed performances as crude prices rose above 72.74 U.S. dollars a barrel. Sinopec retreated 1.34 percent to 6.64 HK dollars, Petrol China down 1.06 percent while off-shore producer CNOOC up 0.5 percent to 12.06 HK dollars.

Belle International, a retailer of ladies footwear, was the most actively traded stock, falling as much as 10.6 percent to a two-week low of 8.90 HK dollars during the morning after the company said it was selling 253.25 million shares at 9.20 HK dollars each. The stock regained some ground, closing at 9.24 HK dollars. (7.765 HK dollars = 1 U.S. dollar)

Source: Xinhua
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