China, HK stocks fall as rising Sino-U.S. tensions weigh


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SHANGHAI, May 27 (Reuters) – China and Hong Kong stocks weakened on Wednesday as rising Sino-U.S. tensions and renewed street protests in Hong Kong curbed risk appetite.

** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.3%, to 3,861.68 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index inched down 0.1% to 2,845.01 points.

** The Hang Seng index dropped 0.4% to 23,294.33 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.3% to 9,566.14.

** China’s plans to impose national security laws in Hong Kong have triggered the first big street unrest in the Asian financial hub since last year, with hundreds of riot police stationed around the city’s Legislative Council on Wednesday before expected protests.

** Further straining relations between Beijing and Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he was preparing a strong response to China’s planned law for Hong Kong, adding it would be announced before the end of the week.

** Investors are also closely monitoring the pace of China’s economic recovery from the depth of the coronavirus crisis. Profits at the country’s industrial firms fell at a slower pace in April, but the economy faces persistent pressure as activity and demand remain weak.

** “Risks of a second COVID-19 wave and further geopolitical tensions cannot be ruled out, but these have yet to morph into material impact at this point,” said Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based market strategist at financial services firm IG.

** Frank Benzimra, head of Asia equity strategy at Societe Generale, said he expects more fiscal and monetary efforts by Beijing to fight unemployment, which could benefit Chinese sectors such as infrastructure.

** China’s CSI financial sector sub-index rose 0.34%, and the real estate index added 0.54%. However, the consumer staples sector fell 0.65%, and the healthcare sub-index dipped 1.08%. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Devika Syamnath)


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