Hong Kong Stocks Decline as Central Banks Fail to Act

Hong Kong stocks fell a second day, paring this week’s gain on the city’s benchmark index, after central banks in China, Europe and the U.S. failed to deliver new stimulus to bolster growth.

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., an operator of ports that gets 55 percent of revenue from Europe, fell 0.4 percent after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi failed to announce immediate action to stem the region’s debt crisis. Li & Fung Ltd., a supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., slid 2.3 percent ahead of a U.S. employment report today. China Yurun Food Group Ltd. gained 11 percent, extending yesterday’s gains, the steepest since the company’s 2005 listing.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.1 percent to 19,666.18 at the close of trading in Hong Kong, rising 2 percent on the week. The gauge pared losses through the last hour as HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s No. 1 bank by value, recovered from a drop of as much as 1.5 percent to close little changed at HK$65.60. Three shares fell for every two that gained today on the 49-member gauge, with trading volume about 18 percent below the 30-day average. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies dropped 0.1 percent to 9,660.99.

“No monetary easing is not what the market wants to hear,” said Francis Lun, managing director at Lyncean Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based brokerage. “The market had shot up in the last few days in anticipation of easing of monetary policy. Investors just got ahead of themselves.”

The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 9.3 percent from this year’s high in February on signs Europe’s debt crisis is worsening while economic growth slows in China and the U.S. The drop reduced the value of shares on the gauge to 10.4 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.3 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.1 for Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Central Banks

The ECB kept its benchmark interest rate on hold yesterday and the People’s Bank of China said it will keep pursuing “prudent” monetary policy. The U.S. Federal Reserve also refrained from adding stimulus this week.

“There is no real action to support the economy,” said Lewis Wan, Hong Kong-based chief investment officer at Pride Investments Group Ltd., which manages $300 million of assets. “The news did not meet the market’s expectations.”

Hutchison Whampoa, controlled by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, slid 0.4 percent to HK$68.35 even after its net income of HK$10.2 billion ($1.3 billion) beat a HK$9.55 billion median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Cosco Pacific Ltd., which operates a port in Greece, fell 2.8 percent to HK$10.52. China Cosco Holdings Co., the nation’s biggest listed shipping company, fell 0.9 percent to HK$3.20.

U.S. Jobs

Li & Fung dropped 2.3 percent to HK$14.72 ahead of the release of a U.S. report expected to show the jobless rate remained at 8.2 percent, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Unemployment has been above 8 percent since February 2009.

Techtronic Industries Co., a maker of power tools that relies on North America for 72 percent of its sales, lost 1.9 percent to HK$10.14.

China Yurun gained 11 percent to HK$6.14, extending yesterday’s gains after billionaire Robert Kuok’s Kerry Group Ltd. disclosed it owns a stake in the nation’s second-largest meat supplier.

Futures on the Hang Seng Index gained 0.1 percent to 19,655. The HSI Volatility Index slid 8.1 percent to 19.47, indicating traders expect a swing of about 5.6 percent in the benchmark index during the next 30 days.

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