Monday, January 21, 2008

Hong Kong stocks plummet 5.49 pct in worst single-day slump since 2001

HONG KONG, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong stocks nose-dived 1,383.01 points, or 5.49 percent, to close at 23,818.46 on Monday, the worst single-day slump since Sept. 11, 2001.

The market was shattered by the slump of the stock markets in Asia and on the Chinese mainland as the market remained skeptical of the economic stimulus package by the White House to avoid recession in the United States.

The blue-chip Hang Seng Index dropped as much as 3.1 percent in the early session, and was down 714.6 points or 2.84 percent, at 24,487.27 by midday and then it widened its losses below the psychological 24,000 level in the afternoon following the slumps of stock markets in Asia. The index plummeted as much as 1,431.74 points, or 5.68 percent, before close at 23,818.46.

Turnover fell to 117.51 billion HK dollars (15.06 billion U.S. dollars) from Friday's 127.36 billion HK dollars (16.34 billion U.S. dollars).

All the 43 components of the benchmark Hang Seng Index fell.

China Mobile, the market's largest stock measured by capitalization and the country's largest mobile phone operator, lost 4.31 percent to 117.7 HK dollars, dampening the index by 140.84 points alone.

Another heavyweight HSBC, the city's largest bank, fell 4.05 percent to 113.6 HK dollars, dragging down the index by 151.59.

Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Ltd., the market's sole operator, moved down 5.91 percent to 173.4 HK dollars.

China's banking and insurers were under great pressure of panic selling. China Life, the largest life insurer in China, slumped 9.5 percent to 32.85 HK dollars, shattering the index by 113.52 points.

ICBC, China's largest lender, plunged 7.78 percent to 4.86 HK dollars.

CCB, the country's second largest bank, 7.83 percent to 5.65 HK dollars.

Bank of China lost 6.39 percent to 3.37 HK dollars.

Bank of Communications, pummeled 6.86 percent to 9.09 HK dollars.

Ping An, the second largest insurer in China, dropped 6.33 percent to 68.05 HK dollars.

Hong Kong's property companies were much lower. Cheung Kong, one of Hong Kong's largest house developers controlled by tycoon Li Ka-shing, went down 4.62 percent to 123.8 HK dollars. Henderson Land fell 4.52 percent to 68.7 HK dollars. SHK Properties shrank 5. 21 percent to 151.1 HK dollars. New World Development plunged 6.9 percent to 23.6 HK dollars. Sino Land plummeted 6.98 percent to 24 HK dollars. Hang Lung lost 6.55 percent to 28.55 HK dollars.

Resources stocks also dropped to their lowest in recent months. PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, dived 8.43 percent to 11.3 HK dollars. Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, nose- dived 9.1 percent to 8.39 HK dollars. CNOOC, China's largest offshore oil company, dropped 6.43 percent to 11.06 HK dollars.

China Enterprise Index or H-shares, composed of companies registered on the Chinese mainland, slumped by 1,029.87 points, or7.07 percent, to 13,531.45 as China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plunged 266.08 points, or 5.14 percent, in its largest percentage points decline in past six months.

Among the 43 H-share components, China's largest shipping conglomerate COSCO was the only stock that rose, up by 0.6 percent to 16.7 HK dollars after it disclosed an agreement worth of more than 1 billion U.S. dollars with two ship builders in east China's Jiangsu province for the construction of vessels

Weiqiao Textile and Jiangxi Copper were two H-share companies that remained unchanged. (7.8 HK dollars = 1 U.S. dollars)

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