January 30, 2020 / 8:43 AM / 23 days ago

Hong Kong shares extend losses as coronavirus spreads; services hit

HONG KONG, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended lower for a second straight session on Thursday amid weakness in healthcare and consumer stocks, as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city rose to 10.

** The Hang Seng index fell 2.6% to 26,449.13 points, while the China Enterprises Index lost 2.8% to 10,325.09 points. ** Hong Kong’s de facto central bank said it will continue to monitor any impact from the spread the virus.

** Trade unions in Hong Kong, including hospital and rail workers, are threatening to strike unless the government closes the border with mainland China to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

** In China, the National Health Commission said the total number of deaths from the coronavirus in the country climbed to 170 as of late Wednesday and the number of infected patients rose to 7,711.

** In other markets, Asian stocks slipped. Gold and bonds were in demand as worries about the virus sent investors scurrying for safety.

** In Hong Kong, an index tracking consumer goods and services companies dropped 3.3%. Cosmetics retailer Sa Sa International plunged 6%.

** Casino operators in Macau slid, with Wynn Macau falling more than 5% and MGM China shedding 6%.

** The top mover on the Hang Seng was Link Real Estate Investment Trust, which fell 0.9%. The biggest loser was ACC Technologies, which fell 7.5%. ** The top mover among H-shares was China Shenhua Energy , down 1%, while the biggest H-shares percentage decliner was Sino Biopharmaceutical, falling 5.6%.

** The U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, as expected. HSBC in Hong Kong said it will not change its best lending rate.

** Citi said Chinese exporters are mostly immune to revenue exposure given their core markets in the United States, European Union and Asia, and they only bear the risk of deferral in the start of production after the lunar new year long holiday.

** Nomura said in a report “the worst is yet to come”, adding the coronavirus could deal a more severe blow to China’s economy in the near term relative to SARS in 2003. (Reporting by the Hong Kong Newsroom; editing by Larry King)

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