Hong Kong shares underperform Asia, U.S. impasse cuts turnover

Sun Oct 6, 2013 11:19pm EDT

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By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares slipped to start the week, underperforming Asia on Monday as investors steered away from risk with the U.S. budget impasse showing no signs of resolution.

In light turnover, the property and financial sectors were among the leading blue chip losers. Chinese sports brands and Macau casinos were strong as a week-long National Day holiday in the mainland draws to a close.

At 0252 GMT, the Hang Seng Index was down 0.9 percent at 22,936.9 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong sank 1.5 percent. Both underperformed most of Asia.

Mainland Chinese markets will resume trading on Tuesday. Data for September money supply and loan growth due from Tuesday will start a fresh batch of China economic data.

"Flows today are very slow on the large caps," said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity sales. "The discount that Sun Hung Kai apparently gave for its luxury project is giving out very bad signals about demand."

Sun Hung Kai Properties slid 2.6 percent to its lowest since mid-September after local media reported the world's second-largest property developer is offering cash discounts at a luxury project to entice buyers.

Bank of Communication and New China Life Insurance each fell 2.6 percent, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China led losses among the "Big Four" Chinese banks, sinking 1.6 percent.

Yanzhou Coal dropped 2.8 percent after the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday that China will replace four coal-burning heating plants in Beijing with natural gas-fired ones by the end of next year as it steps up efforts to reduce pollution.

Heavy smog enveloped Beijing and most of northern China as millions of people prepared to head home after the Golden Week holiday. Local media reported low visibility had forced authorities to shut expressways and cancel flights.

Shares of ENN Energy, one of the largest distributors of clean energy in China, climbed 2.2 percent, while solar giant GCL-Poly Energy spiked 3.7 percent.

There were also gains for the Macau gambling and Chinese sporting retail stocks on hopes of strong Golden Week holiday revenue. MGM China jumped 3.5 percent to near its record intra-day high recorded last Thursday.

Li Ning climbed 5.5 percent to its highest since late January, while ANTA Sports rose 4.9 percent to its highest since December 2011. Luxury watch retailer Hengdeli gained 3.6 percent.

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