Chinese shares slide on Wall Street as audits, data weigh

NEW YORK Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:05pm EST

NEW YORK Jan 23 (Reuters) - U.S.-traded Chinese stocks fell on Thursday, weighed by concerns about the transparency of their audit processes after a U.S. judge censored the Chinese units of the world's top auditors.

Among the biggest losers were Internet services provider Baidu Inc, down 4.8 percent at $166.10, and SINA Corp , down 5.1 percent at $73.16.

In a harshly worded 112-page ruling, Securities and Exchange Commission Administrative Law Judge Cameron Elliot censured the Chinese affiliates of KPMG, Deloitte & Touche , PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst and Young . {ID:nL2N0KW227]

He said the companies "willfully" failed to give U.S. regulators the audit work papers of certain Chinese companies under investigation for accounting fraud.

The lack of proper auditing could force some of these companies to de-list from U.S. exchanges, under U.S. regulations.

Shares of Tal Education Group fell 7.3 percent to $23.75 in their largest decline since August 2012. The shares rose 2.9 percent Wednesday after the company posted unaudited results for the quarter ended Nov. 30.

Chinese data also weighed on shares as a preliminary survey showed that activity in China's factory sector contracted in January, for the first time in six months.

An index of stocks of Chinese companies traded on U.S. exchanges fell 3.2 percent to its lowest in two months.

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