Stocks rocked again on virus global pandemic call

Business | 12 Mar 2020 4:30 pm

Hong Kong blue chips were rocked by a sell-off today after the World Health Orgnisation declared a global pandemic caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in China in December. 

At the close, the benchmark Hang Seng Index tanked by 922.54 points, or 3.66 percent at 24,309.07. HSBC Holdings (0005) tumbled by 4.32 percent at HK$46.55. Tencent Holdings (0700) lost 4.07 percent at HK$363.00, while Alibaba Group (9988) gave up 4.16 percent at HK$188.80.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank into bear market territory.

At the midday break, the Hang Seng Index dived by 962.76 points.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index closer lower by 1.52 percent at 2,923.49. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index tumbled by 2.20 percent at 1,818.56.

In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 average gave up 856.43 points at the close today to 18,559.63, losing more than 10 percent so far this week. The broader Topix was down 4.13 percent, or 57.24 points, to end at 1,327.88.

In Australia the ASX 200 index closed down by 7.4 percent, or 421 points, to 5,305, with consumer stocks, oil stocks, banks and miners leading the declines today.

In Seoul, stocks plunged by nearly 4 percent to hit the lowest in 4 1/2 years at the close. The Korean won fell sharply against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) plummeted by 73.94 points, or 3.87 percent, to 1,834.33, the lowest level since August 24, 2015, when the index closed at 1,829.81 points. The KOSPI dipped to 1,808.56 points at one point.

Trading volume was heavy at 837.14 million shares worth 11.14 trillion won (US$9.2 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 878 to 19.

On Wednesday, the KOSPI plunged by nearly 3 percent to 1,908.27 points, the lowest level since February 17, 2016. 

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