November 9, 2016 / 4:46 AM / 2 years ago

Hong Kong, China fall in Asian wild trade as investors price in a Trump victory

* SSEC -1.3 pct, CSI300 -1.2 pct, HSI -2.8 pct

* Hong Kong’s market fear gauge shot up amid investor anxiety

* Investors large ignore China inflation data

SHANGHAI, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks were set for their worst day in nine months on Wednesday, losing early gains to tumble nearly 3 percent as investors across Asia sold risky assets in panic, pricing in an increasingly possible shock U.S. election win for Republican Donald Trump.

But falls in China shares - typically shielded from global market volatility by strict capital controls - were more subdued, with benchmark indexes down a little over 1 percent amid upbeat inflation data.

The Hang Seng index dropped 2.8 percent, to 22,262.74 points by midday break, the lowest level in three months.

The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 3.9 percent, to 9,288.20, having tumbled over 5 percent at one point.

Reflecting spiking investor anxiety, the HSI Volatility Index, a measure of market stress, shot up to a fresh high of 26, the highest level since the Brexit vote in June.

Global markets had bet on a Hillary Clinton victory, but every new exit poll in the U.S. election showed the race to be a nail-biter, sending investors stampeding to safe-haven assets as they braced for the possibility of the kind of “Brexit shock” that has so far been under-priced.

Shen Weizheng, Shanghai-based fund manager at Ivy Capital, said he had slashed stock exposure, and sought to hedge in assets like gold, as it became more likely that Clinton will lose.

“It’s increasingly likely that Trump will win. It’s going to be like another Brexit,” said Shen, who invests in U.S., Hong Kong, and China equities.

Although the U.S. election’s direct impact on China is limited, the result will have “sentimental repercussions across financial markets, so the right strategy now is ‘risk-off’.”

The global market gloom was mirrored in China, where the CSI300 index opened firm, but fell 1.2 percent to 3,331.46 points by midday. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.3 percent, to 3,106.23 points.

All attention was on the U.S. election, with investors largely ignoring inflation data showing October gains in both producer prices and consumer prices beat expectations, adding to fresh signs of economic recovery.

Nearly all sectors fell in China and Hong Kong, as investors dumped stocks across the board.

Ironically, Wisesoft Co, a Chinese software marker bucked the broader trend, surging nearly 5 percent.

The company’s Chinese name reads similar to “Trump wins wisely”, attracting speculators who bet the stock will benefit from a Trump victory.

It also reflects an investment culture in China, where a stock’s rise and fall often has little to do with fundamentals.

Shares of Aucma Co Ltd, whose name bears resemblance to Obama in Chinese language, also became a focus of speculation after Barack Obama became the U.S. president.

Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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