Hong Kong stocks capped a weekly loss on lingering concerns about Beijing’s crackdown against internet-platform companies and as a surge in Delta variant cases clouds global economic recovery outlook. Chinese online education stocks crashed.
The Hang Seng Index retreated 1.5 per cent to 27,321.98 at the close, extending the weekly decline to 2.7 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.7 per cent, trimming the weekly gain to 0.4 per cent.
Meituan and Alibaba Health Information Technology dropped at least 2.4 per cent as China stepped up its scrutiny on illegal practices after putting Didi Chuxing under a cybersecurity review this month. China’s market regulator late Thursday published the first batch of anti-competition cases, while rife speculation about online education firms unnerved onshore traders.
“Part of a relentless domestic big-tech crackdown by China appears to be weighing on sentiment,” said Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at Oanda.
Local traders ignored overnight gains in US equities by keeping track of Beijing’s anti-competition measures and a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, which has fuelled a flight to safety. The latest US economic reports were mixed as sales of previously owned homes and jobless claims rose.
Other major losers included Anta Sports Products and hotpot restaurant chain Haidilao International, which lost at least 3.7 per cent. China Telecom, the nation’s biggest fixed-line operator, retreated 3.1 per cent to HK$3.09. China’s securities regulator approved its plan to raise about 54.4 billion yuan (US$8.4 billion) from a stock offering in Shanghai.
New Oriental Education and Technology Group tumbled by 41 per cent to HK$30.20 for the steepest decline on record on speculation that the government is mulling stringent rules governing the business of after-school tutoring.
They include banning weekend and vacation courses and investment in platforms that offer the same courses as the school curriculums, according to mainland Chinese media reports.
China East Education Holdings slumped 8 per cent to HK$9.15 and China Yuhua Education lost 5.1 per cent to HK$5.73. Koolearn Technology Holdings slumped by 28 per cent to HK$5.92. Three debutants all rose on mainland markets. Dongguan Yiheda Automation, which makes linear motion parts, surged 677 per cent from its initial public offering price to 109.80 yuan in Shenzhen. Guangdong Hongxing Industrial and Zhejiang Publishing and Media both jumped 44 per cent, the maximum for new mainboard listings.