Hang Seng goes through the wringer

Finance | 19 Mar 2020 4:05 pm

Hong Kong stocks suffered another day of losses following a bruising, see-saw session amid unprecedented measures in the US, Europe and Asia aimed at calming financial markets, reacting to the coronavirus pandemic devastation on economies.   

The US dollar was tronger against leading currecnies, including the UK pound, the New Zealand dollar and the Australian dollar.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down by 582.09 points, or 2.61 percent at 21,709.13. At the midday break the HSI plunged by 946.89 points, or 4.25 percent at 21,344.93.

The sell-off in Hong Kong continued regardless of billions of dollars in  new stimulus packages in the US, Europe and Asia to stem the economic devasatation caused by the global coronavirus pandemic that emerged in China.

The benchmark briefly sank by more than 1,000 points, following severe losses at the close yesterday, when the HSI skidded by more than 970 points.

Half-day turnover of Hong Kong stocks reached HK$102.88 billion. The price-to-book ratio of the Hang Seng Index fell to 0.92 times, even lower than that of the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and the 2008 financial crisis.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index lost 0.98 percent at 2,702.13, while the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index was up by  0.28 percent at 1,682.93.

The European Central Bank said yesterday it could buy up to 750 billion euros in government and private sector bonds as well as commercial paper by year end, while the Trump administration, separately, is backing a roughly US$850 billion emergency stimulus package.

On Wall Street overnight, stocks tumbled by more than 5 percent and the Dow erased virtually all its gains since President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration. 

In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 closed 3.4 percent lower at 4,782 points.


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