SHANGHAI: China shares slipped on Monday as concerns lingered about the newly discovered and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant, while Meituan and gambling stocks dragged Hong Kong equities lower.
The CSI300 index fell 0.2% to 4,852.46 by the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,562.70.
The Hang Seng index dropped 0.5% to 23,956.43. The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.3% to 8,550.13.
** The Omicron coronavirus variant has spread around the world even as more countries imposed travel restrictions to try to seal themselves off.
** Guosheng Securities said the new variant has become an uncertainty for markets and investors should remain cautious in the short term and wait for the other shoe to drop.
** Zheshang Securities said the new variant would have limited impact on A shares due to China's strict anti-virus measures.
** Tourism stocks slumped 2.8% due to a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in China and the new variant.
** Real estate developers and energy shares dropped more than 1.2% each.
** COVID-19-related healthcare stocks rose, jumping as much as 15%, with some companies saying their test kits remained effective for the new variant.
** The new energy sub-index and the defence sub-index gained 1.8% and 2.7%, respectively.
** Profits at China's industrial firms grew at a faster pace in October, providing a buffer for a faltering economy battered by soaring raw material prices.
** In Hong Kong, food delivery giant Meituan slumped nearly 8%, dragging down the Hang Seng Index 169 points.
** Meituan plunged the most in four months after it forecast a weaker outlook following its largest-ever quarterly loss in three years.
** "We believe the short-term impact of the pandemic as well as macro-headwinds does not alter the secular momentum of food delivery," said Jefferies.
** Gambling stocks listed in Hong Kong tumbled nearly 8% after Macau police said on Sunday they had arrested 11 people in an investigation into an illegal gambling and money-laundering syndicate.