Hong Kong Stocks Fall as Developers Slide; Belle Climbs
Hong Kong stocks dropped, after the city’s benchmark index posted two straight weekly gains, as Chinese developers declined amid reports some banks tightened lending to the sector. Belle International Holdings rose after profit beat estimates.
The Hang Seng Index (HSI) slid 0.8 percent to 22,396.03 as of 9:38 a.m. in Hong Kong. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.6 percent to 9,774.55.
Hong Kong’s benchmark gauge has fallen 3.2 percent this year through last week, the second-worst performer among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg. The H-share gauge dropped 8.1 percent for the period and traded at 6.6 times estimated earnings as of Feb 21, compared with its five-year average of 10.
Industrial Bank Co. and other unidentified banks have tightened lending to property sector and some property related industries such as steel and cement, Shanghai Securities News reports, without saying where it got the information.
G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors who met in Sydney this weekend pledged to maintain stimulus measures and boost global growth by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies.
People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the country’s expansion prospects of 7 to 8 percent growth are suitable for the nation and can boost the global economy. Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said possible defaults in Chinese wealth-management products don’t reflect a “big problem,” and weakness in the yuan is within the normal range.
Futures (SPX) on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.1 percent today after a 0.2 percent drop on the gauge Feb. 21. U.S. stocks fell last week as the Fed said it likely will continue reducing stimulus, overshadowing optimism about takeovers.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who doesn’t vote on the Federal Open Market Committee this year, said the central bank is on target to continue scaling back stimulus, adding that soft economic data in 2014 is probably due to bad weather.
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