Hong Kong Stocks Decline Ahead of U.S. Employment Data
Hong Kong stocks slid, with the benchmark index falling from a four-week high, as investors awaited U.S. jobs data to gauge when the Federal Reserve will trim stimulus. China Mobile (941) Ltd. plunged after posting its largest drop in profit since 1999.
The Hang Seng Index lost 0.5 percent to 23,311.95 as of 9:33 in Hong Kong, with three shares dropping for each that gained. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI), also known as the H-share index, slipped 0.3 percent to 10,634.71.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 percent. The equity gauge rose less than 0.1 percent yesterday to extend a record high as investors watched earnings to assess the strength of the economy before today’s employment report.
The Labor Department will release September jobs data, which was pushed back from Oct. 4 because of the 16-day partial federal shutdown that ended last week. The report will probably show employers added the most workers since April, according to the median estimate of 93 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Delayed economic data and slower fourth-quarter growth due to the shutdown will prevent Fed policy makers from paring record bond purchases until March, according a Bloomberg survey last week.
The Hang Seng Index (HSI) climbed 18 percent from this year’s low in June through yesterday as data showed China’s economic expansion is stabilizing after a two-quarter slowdown. Hong Kong’s equity benchmark traded at 11.2 times estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 15.8 for the S&P 500.
China can meet major economic goals this year and the economy is stabilizing and improving, Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday at a meeting organized by the All China Federation of Trade Unions, China Central Television reported. Economic growth and consumer prices are in “reasonable ranges,” and domestic demand has huge potential, the report cited Li as saying. The nation’s official target is for 7.5 percent growth this year.
China Mobile lost 3.4 percent to HK$82.15. the world’s largest phone company’s profit plunged as costs to build its new network rose and users switched to third-party messaging apps. Net income fell 8.8 percent to 28.4 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) in the third quarter, missing the 31.1 billion-yuan expected by five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
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