Weak sentiment drives Hang Seng lower

Business | Stella Zhai 23 Jul 2019

The Hong Kong stock exchange's benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 394 points to 28,371, hurt by weak market sentiment amid continuing political unrest in the city and the launch of Shanghai's new sci-tech trading board.

Local property stocks fell, with Wharf Real Estate Investment Company (1997) becoming the largest percentage loser among blue chips, falling 3.17 percent to HK$50.45, and China Overseas Land & Investment (0688) declining 2.62 percent to HK$27.9. Financial blue chips slipped overall, with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (0388) down 2.48 percent to HK$266, and BOC Hong Kong (2388) falling 1.75 percent to HK$30.95.

Shares of the Hong Kong Economic Times (0423) fell 1.22 percent to HK$1.62 as Arthur Shek Kang-chuen, a founder of HKET, clarified that what he said at the Safeguard Hong Kong Assembly on Saturday was that people could use canes and steel pipes to defend themselves, while condemning the violence in Yuen Long.

Local media had reported that Shek had told the assembly that canes and steel pipes - which were used in Sunday's violence at Yuen Long - were sometimes needed to discipline children.

Shares of Cathay Pacific (0293) fell 1.82 percent to HK$11.88, after it announced on Friday that it has completed the acquisition of Hong Kong Express Airways, while mainland Harbin Electric (1133) plunged 24.933 percent to HK$2.86, as it announced its privatization failed.

Meanwhile, on the macro level, Hong Kong overall consumer prices rose by 3.3 percent in June 2019 over the same month a year earlier, higher than the expected 2.6 percent increase and larger than the corresponding increase of 2.8 percent in May 2019, mainly due to the increases in the prices of pork and charges for package tours.

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