Hong Kong stocks dropped after property developers fell amid concern China may introduce more policies to cool the market and as casino operators retreated.
China Resources Land Ltd. sank 4.4 percent, the most on the benchmark Hang Seng Index, on a report the government may introduce property curbs around a legislative meeting next month. Sands China Ltd., the Asian unit of Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas company, dropped 4.4 percent on a report Macau gaming revenue missed estimates. SCMP Group Ltd. retreated after surging yesterday the most in 15 years amid speculation the publisher’s majority owner, Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok, would increase his stake.
The Hang Seng Index slid 1 percent to close at 23,143.91 in Hong Kong, with three stocks declining for each that rose. Trading volume was about 15 percent below the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks lost 1.8 percent to 11,525.70, the year’s lowest close.
“The government wants to limit price growth in the larger cities,” Angus Gluskie, managing director at Sydney-based White Funds Management, which oversees more than $350 million, said by phone today. “There’s a real chance that we see markets shudder a bit over the next few weeks.”
Hong Kong’s benchmark index has fallen almost 3 percent since the end of last month when it reached its highest level since April 2011. The gauge soared 22 percent from the end of August through January as data showed the U.S. and Chinese economies are recovering amid stimulus from central banks.
Futures on the Hang Seng Index expiring this month dropped 0.7 percent. The HSI Volatility Index rose 2.2 percent to 14.73, indicating traders expect swings of about 4.2 percent during the next 30 days.
Exchange-traded funds that attempt to mirror movement of mainland-listed shares fell. The CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF, which tracks the 50 largest companies listed in Shanghai, declined 2.7 percent. The ChinaAMC CSI 300 Index ETF, tracking the CSI 300 Index of shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen, lost 3 percent, the biggest drop since at least October.
The Hang Seng Property Index slid 1.4 percent after China Business News cited researchers as saying mainland officials may introduce more policies to curb real estate prices before or after the National People’s Congress annual session next month.
China Resources Land sank 4.4 percent to HK$21.50. China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. retreated 3.3 percent to HK$21.95.
Casino operators declined as HSBC Holdings Plc analysts said Macau gambling revenue missed estimates for the first 17 days of the month. Sands China fell 4.4 percent to HK$36.25. Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. retreated 4.9 percent to HK$33.15.
Anhui Conch Cement Co., the mainland’s biggest maker of the material, sank 5.6 percent to HK$28.95 after the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said cement output would probably grow less than 5 percent this year.
SCMP, publisher of the South China Morning Post newspaper, dropped 7.4 percent to HK$1.99, paring yesterday’s 23 percent surge. The company said it was in preliminary talks to buy a group of Hong Kong media companies in Hong Kong.
Utilities were the only gainers among the Hang Seng Index’s four industry groups. Power Assets Holdings Ltd. advanced 1.1 percent to HK$70.85. Hong Kong & China Gas Ltd. rose 0.9 percent to HK$21.75.