Markets fall in China, Hong Kong as nationwide audit jolts drug firms while farm stocks are pounded by pests and swine fever


    Hang Seng posted its fifth straight day of losses, while Shanghai was down for a fourth consecutive day

    Analysts say traders want clear signals from US and China on resolving their differences


Deb Price, South China Morning Post

4 Jun, 2019


Hong Kong and China stocks continued to get hammered Tuesday, with pharmaceuticals hit hard by a broad audit of drug makers. Agricultural shares were pounded by worries about the pig-killing African swine fever, as well as a pestilent worm that is eating corn and other crops.


Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined for the fifth consecutive day, as the city’s benchmark dropped 0.5 per cent to 26,761.52, retreating 2.3 per cent in five days. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks the performance of Chinese companies in Hong Kong, fell 0.9 per cent to 10,341.12.


Shares retreated in mainland China, with the Shanghai Composite Index closing nearly 1 per cent down to 2,862.28.


The technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite Index declined 1.4 per cent to 1,494.15 over concerns that the trade war’s spillover to a dispute over technology - underscored by US ban on hardware, software and services to China’s Huawei Technologies - would hurt more suppliers and vendors listed on the exchange.


Traders are waiting for clear signals about how the world’s two largest economies plan to deal with one another. Those signals may come out of the G20 economic summit in Osaka, attended by the presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping on June 28-29.


“There’s no clear factor that will either drive up stocks or weigh on shares,” said Dai Ming, a fund manager at Hengsheng Asset Management in Shanghai. “Markets will probably bounce back after the decline as the valuations of big-weightings are still cheap. Before the G20 summit meeting ... there will be no clear direction on stocks.”


Some traders and analysts see buying opportunities...


... WH Group, the world’s largest pork producer, bucked the downward trend, rising 2.2 per cent to HK$7.01. A number of property conglomerates did well also: Swire Pacific rose 1.6 per cent to HK$94.45; China Resources Land climbed 1.3 per cent to HK$32.25, while CK Infrastructure Holdings was up 1.3 per cent to HK$61.85...


... Big losers falling by the daily 10 per cent limit included Gansu Dunhuang Seed Group, down to 7.62 yuan, Xinjiang Talimu Agriculture, falling to 5.93 yuan, and Zhongnongfa Seed Industry Group, which closed at 3.91 yuan.


They and other agriculture stocks tended to do poorly Tuesday, as China deals with a double whammy of African swine fever threatening the country’s hog population while the fall armyworm chomps its way through cash and food crops...


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