Monday, 16 January 2012 14:01
HONG KONG: Hong Kong shares started what could prove to be a volatile week lower on Monday, with losses capped at chart support levels as investors took profit on last week's outperformers ahead of more economic data from China expected on Tuesday.
The Hang Seng Index finished down 1 percent at 19,012.2. The China Enterprises Index of top mainland listings in Hong Kong finished down 1.39 percent at 10,489.59.
The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled for a fourth straight session, closing down 1.7 percent at 2,206.19, halving gains last week in A-share turnover that declined 35 percent from Friday.
Turnover in Hong Kong fell about 27 percent from Friday, with the Hang Seng Index trading in a narrow 85-point range and supported at about 19,000. Market watchers said interest could remain at similarly low levels this week ahead of a Lunar New Year holiday next week.
Chinese oil majors, which were key drivers of the strong start to the year, were among the top drags on the Hang Seng Index. CNOOC Ltd lost 1.6 percent, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) slipped 2.5 percent while PetroChina Co Ltd declined 0.9 percent.
Warren Buffett-backed Chinese automaker BYD Co Ltd rose for a sixth-straight session, jumping 4.8 percent to the highest since Aug. 15 in volume more than three times its 30-day average. Investors were pouring back into the stock in anticipation that it could benefit from a new policy supporting production of environmentally-friendly cars, analysts said.
China is expected to post fourth-quarter GDP growth of 8.7 percent on Tuesday, according to a Reuters poll. Beijing will also release December industrial output, investment and retail sales figures, which could spur market gains.
Copyright Reuters, 2012