Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell by the most in a month as energy producers fell on lower oil prices and Ping An Insurance Group Co. paced losses among financial shares. Stocks held declines after mainland industrial production missed estimates.
Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore oil company, dropped 2.4 percent. Ping An Insurance Group Co. slumped 4.2 percent after its brokerage unit was suspended from underwriting after China’s securities regulator said it helped list a fraudulent company. China Minsheng Banking Corp. slumped 5.3 percent after a report mainland lenders may face tighter regulations on wealth-management products. China Resources Land Ltd., the second-largest mainland developer traded in Hong Kong, lost 2.5 percent after data showed Chinese home sales fell.
The Hang Seng lost 1.4 percent to 22,989.81 at the close in Hong Kong, its steepest drop since April 15. About seven stocks slid for each that rose on the 50-member gauge. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks lost 2.1 percent to 11,109.27, its biggest decline since April 5.
“We need more evidence that the economy in China is actually growing stronger,” said Tim Leung, a portfolio manager who helps oversee about $1.5 billion at IG Investment Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The statistics from China are still looking soft, and if there is not enough growth momentum from China, that’s going to affect Chinese-related markets like Hong Kong.”
China’s industrial output rose 9.3 percent in April from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today, missing the 9.4 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.
Recent economic reports are showing mixed signals. The Purchasing Managers’ Index slowed last month, while exports grew faster than expected. Consumer prices rose a more-than-estimated 2.4 percent in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said last week.
China’s central bank said last week the “foundation for stable economic expansion isn’t yet solid” and at the same time warned that stimulus policies to boost growth could trigger inflation.
Energy companies dropped after West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery fell as much as 90 cents to $95.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, heading lower for a third day, the longest run of declines in four weeks.
Cnooc slumped 2.4 percent to HK$14.40. PetroChina Co., the country’s biggest energy producer, slid 2 percent to HK$10.06. Brightoil Petroleum Holdings Ltd., a supplier of marine fuel, lost 2.6 percent to HK$1.48.
Financial shares fell, as Ping An Insurance tumbled 4.2 percent to HK$60.95, the biggest decline on the Hang Seng Index. China’s securities regulator halted brokerage unit Ping An Securities from conducting underwriting for three months after it helped a fraudulent Chinese company to list, according to a statement posted on the China Securities Regulatory Commission’s website.
Chinese lenders fell on a Market News International report that they may be barred from proprietary trading of wealth-management products. The regulator tightened rules in March when it told the country’s banks to limit investments of client funds in credit assets that aren’t publicly traded, and to isolate the risks from their operations.
Among other stocks that fell, China Resources Land sank 2.5 percent to HK$23.30. China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd., which gets nearly all of its revenue from the mainland, lost 2.5 percent to HK$23.60.
The value of home sale transactions in China fell 13 percent in April from the previous month as the government’s new property curbs started to take effect, according to the National Statistics Bureau data.
Futures on the Hang Seng Index dropped 1.4 percent to 22,878. The HSI Volatility Index increased 6 percent to 15.58, indicating traders expect a swing of 4.5 percent for the equity benchmark in the next 30 days.