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China stocks slip on Omicron variant worries

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SHANGHAI, Nov 29 (Reuters) - China shares slipped on Monday as concerns lingered about the newly discovered and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant, while Meituan and gambling stocks dragged Hong Kong equities lower.

The CSI300 index (.CSI300) fell 0.2% to 4,852.46 by the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index (.SSEC) was unchanged at 3,562.70.

The Hang Seng index (.HSI) dropped 0.5% to 23,956.43. The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index (.HSCE) lost 0.3% to 8,550.13.

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** The Omicron coronavirus variant has spread around the world even as more countries imposed travel restrictions to try to seal themselves off.

** Guosheng Securities said the new variant has become an uncertainty for markets and investors should remain cautious in the short term and wait for the other shoe to drop.

** Zheshang Securities said the new variant would have limited impact on A shares due to China's strict anti-virus measures.

** Tourism stocks (.CSI930633) slumped 2.8% due to a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in China and the new variant.

** Real estate developers (.CSI000952) and energy shares (.CSIEN) dropped more than 1.2% each.

** COVID-19-related healthcare stocks rose, jumping as much as 15%, with some companies saying their test kits remained effective for the new variant.

** The new energy sub-index (.CSI399808) and the defence sub-index (.CSI399959) gained 1.8% and 2.7%, respectively.

** Profits at China's industrial firms grew at a faster pace in October, providing a buffer for a faltering economy battered by soaring raw material prices. read more

** In Hong Kong, food delivery giant Meituan (3690.HK) slumped nearly 8%, dragging down the Hang Seng Index (.HSI) 169 points.

** Meituan plunged the most in four months after it forecast a weaker outlook following its largest-ever quarterly loss in three years. read more

** "We believe the short-term impact of the pandemic as well as macro-headwinds does not alter the secular momentum of food delivery," said Jefferies.

** Gambling stocks listed in Hong Kong (.CSICESG10) tumbled nearly 8% after Macau police said on Sunday they had arrested 11 people in an investigation into an illegal gambling and money-laundering syndicate. read more

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Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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