Hong Kong stocks tumbled, with the benchmark index poised to cap a 10 percent fall from a December peak, after weaker-than-expected manufacturing growth from the U.S. to China fueled a global equities rout on concern about the strength of the global economy.
The Hang Seng Index declined 2.1 percent to 21,571.15 as of 9:30 a.m. in Hong Kong, heading for a five-month low, as it reopened after Chinese New Year holidays. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) of mainland Chinese companies, known as the H-share index, lost 3.1 percent to 9,512.22. China’s markets remain closed until Feb. 7.
Manufacturing gauges for the world’s two biggest economies are signaling a growth slowdown, which has combined with concerns about slumping emerging-market currencies to erase about $2 trillion from the value of equities worldwide. The H-share stock measure has tumbled 12 percent in 2014, more than any other primary equity index tracked by Bloomberg, while the Hang Seng Index (HSI) slid 7.6 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.3 percent today after the measure yesterday slumped 2.3 percent, the most since June. Data showed factory activity in the U.S. expanded in January at the weakest pace in eight months as orders slumped, a sign manufacturing cooled at the start of the year along with the weather.
A U.K. Purchasing Managers’ Index published yesterday showed manufacturing expanded at a slower pace in January, after a similar Chinese gauge released Feb. 1 in Beijing fell to a six-month low amid slowing production and orders in Asia’s largest economy.
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