Hong Kong, China shares fall on property fears, Cyprus shock
SHANGHAI, March 18 |
SHANGHAI, March 18 (Reuters) - Shares in Hong Kong and mainland China fell on Monday on fears of more property tightening and concerns about stability in the eurozone.
The Hang Seng Index fell 2.1 percent to 22,057.07 points by the midday break. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong was down 2.3 percent. Both were at their lowest levels since Dec. 5.
Sentiment was hit by a radical bailout proposal for Cyprus that has reignited worries about the eurozone debt crisis.
"It gave the market kind of a panic," said Steven Leung, sales director at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong.
Mainland indexes also slid, with the CSI300 index , which tracks the largest tickers in Shanghai and Shenzhen, down 0.78 percent, and the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.91 percent. Both were also weighed by financials and insurance stocks.
Property stocks fell after China's new home prices rose year-on-year in February for a second consecutive month, increasing investors' concerns about government curbs on the housing sector.
"It makes people believe that the tightening measures will continue and last for a while, so in the near term it's quite difficult to see policies to loosen," Leung said.
Agile Property dropped 3.9 percent, its lowest point since October, while China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd fell 2.6 percent.
The real estate sector was also hit by media reports last week that China Resources Land used tainted materials on a project in Shenzhen, triggering industry-wide investigations by the central government.
China Resources Cement Holdings Company Ltd, responding to media reports, said its products complied with national standards, according to a stock exchange filing on Monday.
Shares in China Resources Cement dropped 7.9 percent to its lowest since September, while China Resources Land fell 0.5 percent.
Ping An Insurance Co fell 1.9 percent after media reports on Monday that the company will cut the weighting of equities holdings. (Reporting by Pete Sweeney; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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