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Markets

HK, China stocks resume slump on regulatory concerns, COVID jump

  • A resurgence in COVID-19 cases in mainland China also dented investors' risk appetite
Published July 30, 2021

SHANGHAI: Shares in Hong Kong and China resumed their slump on Friday after rebounding in the previous session, as persistent concerns over regulatory crackdowns outweighed Beijing's attempts to calm markets.

A resurgence in COVID-19 cases in mainland China also dented investors' risk appetite.

Hong Kong tech shares slumped again, putting the benchmark Hang Seng index on track for its worst week in 16 months.

China stocks up

The Hang Seng dropped 2.1% by the midday break, following Thursday's 3.3% rally. Tech giants such as Meituan and Alibaba led Friday's decline.

For the week, the benchmark is set to fall nearly 6%, its worst weekly performance since March, 2020. Global investors have been dumping shares in Chinese companies after Beijing banned for-profit tutoring on core school subjects, following crackdowns earlier this year on the tech sector.

The Hang Seng Tech Index plunged 4.2%, extending the weekly fall to over 8%.

China's blue-chip CSI300 Index fell 1%, after gaining 1.9% on Thursday, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5%, led by consumer and tourism stocks. A new outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Jiangsu province has been linked to inadequately protected airport staff.

An index tracking Chinese tourism stocks dropped 2.9%. Healthcare stocks on the mainland also fell sharply on worries the sector may be regulators' next target.

The markets had rebounded on Thursday after China stepped up attempts to calm frayed investor nerves by telling foreign brokerages not to "overinterpret" its latest regulatory actions.

China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) vice chairman Fang Xinghai held a meeting with global investment banks on Wednesday night to shore up confidence, while state media sang in chorus on Thursday in support of China's capital markets.

"We don't think the signals from this recent news flow are enough for us to upgrade China to overweight," Morgan Stanley said in a note, citing long-term concerns regarding the future of offshore China equities, and possible restrictions on foreign investment in Chinese companies.

"Initial investor feedback indicates they remain concerned, and are looking for more formal guidance and actions to assuage these potential issues."

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