Hong Kong Stocks Drop, Biggest Loss Streak Since May

Hong Kong stocks fell, with the benchmark index capping its longest losing streak in almost a year as the outlook for global economic growth weakened and miners dropped. Mainland developers gained after China reported rising home prices in March.

Miners including Mongolian Mining Corp., the nation’s biggest exporter of coking coal, fell as commodity prices retreated. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., an owner of retail chains and ports that counts Europe as its biggest market, slid 1.4 percent after the International Monetary Fund said as much as 20 percent of non-bank corporate debt in the weakest euro-area economies is unsustainable. Developers gained as home prices rose in almost all Chinese cities in March, with Guangzhou-based Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd. adding 2 percent.

The Hang Seng Index slipped 0.3 percent to 21,512.52 at the close, its fifth day of declines and longest losing streak since May 14. Almost twice as many stocks fell as rose, with trading volumes 17 percent below the 30-day average for the time of day. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of Chinese companies listed in the city retreated 0.3 percent to 10,266.59.

“The recent trend is individual traders focusing on individual sectors and stocks,” said Ben Kwong, chief operating officer at brokerage KGI Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The overall market trend is still weak because of prevailing concern about bird flu and the local debt problem in China.”

Through yesterday the Hang Seng Index fell 4.8 percent this year, ranking the city alongside Italy as the worst-performing developed markets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shares on the measure traded at 10.3 times estimated earnings, compared with a five-year average of 12.3 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s multiple of 14 times, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Miners Fall

Raw-material producers slid as gold, silver and oil prices extended declines. Copper futures dropped by the most in a year, heading for the lowest price since October 2011. As of today about 10 components of the 24 raw materials in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index are in a bear market, commonly defined as a drop of 20 percent or more from a closing high, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mongolian Mining Corp. dropped 4.8 percent to HK$2.17. Zijin Mining Group Co., the biggest mining company in China by value, fell 1.8 percent to HK$2.23. Gold producer Zhaojin Mining Industry Co. slid 1.3 percent to HK$8.12.

Stocks linked to Europe fell after the IMF said corporate debt in euro-area economies may force companies to sell assets and cut dividends, further weakening investor confidence.

Developers Gain

Hutchison Whampoa fell 1.4 percent to HK$79.65. China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd., a shipbuilder that gets about a third of its revenue from the greater Europe area, fell 1.8 percent to HK$1.10.

Chinese developers rose as new home prices jumped in all but two cities as local governments announced milder-than-expected property measures and targets. Prices in March climbed from a year earlier in 68 of 70 cities the government tracks, the most since September 2011, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement today.

The biggest jump came in the southern city of Guangzhou, where prices rose 11.1 percent from a year earlier. Prices increased 8.6 percent in Beijing and 6.4 percent in Shanghai, both the most since January 2011 when the government changed its methodology for the data.

Mainland property companies traded in Hong Kong gained, with China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd., the largest up 1.6 percent to HK$22.45 and China Resources Land Ltd., the second-biggest, gaining 2.3 percent to HK$22.15. Evergrande gained 2 percent to HK$3.12.

S&P Futures

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent. The gauge yesterday dropped 1.4 percent amid disappointing results by companies from Bank of America Corp. to Textron Inc. U.S. stocks are poised for a “spring break” that will bring losses to investors as economic growth slows and corporate earnings weaken, according to Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at UBS AG.

Sands China Ltd., the Asian unit of Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas company, gained 3.3 percent to HK$39.10, the biggest gain in the Hang Seng Index, after Citigroup Inc. said it continues to prefer the stock.

Hang Seng Index futures rose 0.1 percent to 21,521. The HSI Volatility Index fell 0.3 percent to 17.68, indicating traders expect a swing of 5.1 percent for the equity benchmark in the next 30 days.

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