(Corrects HSI milestone in headline and paragraph 4 to Dec 4,
not Dec 14)
* HSI -2.0 pct, H-shares -2.1 pct, CSI300 -1.5 pct
* Sun Art, Tingyi slide after 2012 earnings miss
* Chinese brokers hurt by reported change of regulator
* China property jitters linger after home price data
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, March 18 Hong Kong shares tumbled on
Monday to their lowest close in more than three months, while
onshore Chinese markets suffered their worst loss in two weeks,
hit by concerns ranging from the euro zone to China's property
and financial sectors.
Chinese hypermart operator Sun-Art Retail fell 3
percent, while food and beverage giant Tingyi Holdings
skidded 3.8 percent after their 2012 corporate earnings results
were below expectations.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen
A-share listings shed 1.5 percent and the Shanghai Composite
Index closed down 1.7 percent at its lowest since Dec.
28 in volume 20 percent below its average over the past 20 days.
The Hang Seng Index ended down 2 percent at 22,082.4,
its lowest close since Dec. 4. Losses on the day opened up a
309-point gap from Friday's low and Monday's high, which will be
hard to scale.
The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese
listings in Hong Kong slid 2.1 percent, underperforming mainland
markets. Turnover in the territory tumbled 24 percent from
Friday's one-month high.
"The selling pressure is not over yet," said Jackson Wong,
Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity sales. "There just
weren't any positive catalysts at all on the day."
Investors will be looking at Thursday's announcement of the
HSBC flash PMI , a private preliminary survey of manufacturing
activity in March in China, to see if the economic recovery in
the world's second-largest economy is sputtering.
The flash PMI number "will need to top estimates to change
anything," Wong said.
On Monday, there was a broad sell-off hitting the financial
and growth-sensitive sectors, with investors rattled by a
radical bailout plan for Cyprus. Global supply chain giant Li &
Fung dived 3.4 percent.
Chinese financials were broadly weaker after the official
China Securities Journal reported that Bank of China Ltd
Chairman Xiao Gang was named head of the China Securities
Regulatory Commission at a Sunday meeting of the agency.
Citic Securities skidded 3.7 percent in
Hong Kong and 2.1 percent in Shanghai after the report sparked
worries that the departure of current commission chairman Guo
Shuqing could slow reforms in the sector.
Comments from Li Keqiang at his first press conference on
Sunday as China's premier touting the anti-corruption focus of
the new government also hurt luxury-related sectors such as
premium alcohol, Macau casinos and high-end retailers.
Kweichow Moutai tumbled 4.3 percent to its
lowest since May 2011 in Shanghai, breaking below a key chart
support at 170.9 yuan set in January 2012. Sands China
shed 3.9 percent while Prada was down 4.7 percent.
Shares of some larger property developers rose, while those
of smaller rivals fell as investors bet on the ability of larger
developers to survive any additional curbs on the housing
Official data showed new home prices in China rose in
February from a year ago for a second consecutive month.
However, further gains are expected to be contained by tougher
tax plans the government unveiled this month to curb real estate
In Hong Kong, China Resources Land bounced up 2.2
percent after testing four-months lows earlier in the day, but
Evergrande fell 2.4 percent. China Vanke
climbed 2 percent in Shenzhen.
(Additional reporting by Yimou Lee in HONG KONG and Pete
Sweeney in SHANGHAI; Editing by Richard Borsuk)