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=ASIA MARKETS: Hong Kong Shares Slide As Slowdown Worries Mar Sentiment

HONG KONG (Mar 25) -- Hong Kong shares slid with the rest of the region on Monday, as appetite for risk wavered amid renewed concerns over a global slowdown in economic growth.

The Hang Seng Index lost 1.8% to 28,595.93 by noon. Coal miner China Shenhua Energy declined 5.4%, leading percentage losses on the gauge, after reporting a 7.7% decrease in 2018 net profit. Refining company China Petroleum & Chemical, or Sinopec, was down 2.9% despite reporting a 23.4% increase in full-year profit.

Apple supplier AAC Technologies Holdings added 5.5%, the only index constituent trading higher by the midday break. The company reported a decline in 2018 revenue and profit on Friday, but said it expects revenue for the second-half to be higher than in the first.

U.S. equity indexes lost 1.8% or more on Friday after preliminary U.S. factory and services activity data showed a slowdown in growth during February, while Germany’s manufacturing output contracted for a third consecutive month. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasurys fell to their lowest levels since January 2018 on Friday, dropping below that of the three-month notes. The inversion of the yield curve, when shorter-dated yields are higher than longer-dated ones, is seen by some as an indication of an upcoming recession. The Japanese yen, considered to be a safe-haven asset, was last up 0.1% against the dollar.

Fears are building on global growth and the inversion of the U.S. Treasurys yield curve, said Stanley Chan, director of research at Emperor Securities. He added, however, that investors should “not worry too much” because global growth in the second half of the year will be better as the U.S. Federal Reserve has stopped raising rates and other major central banks are also relaxing policies.

Chan expects the Hang Seng Index to find support around 28,000 points.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.4%. Markets in the rest of the region were also down, with the Nikkei Asia300 Index losing 1.8%. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI fell 1%, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index declined 1.4%.

Sporting goods company Li Ning declined 8.4% to HK$11.64 in Hong Kong after saying its shareholder Viva China Holdings agreed to place 148 million of the company’s shares at HK$11.72 apiece.

Video graphics-card maker PC Partner Group tumbled 26% after reporting an 18.5% drop in full-year net profit.

The People’s Insurance Company Group, or PICC, fell 4.6% following a 19.8% decline in 2018 profit.

China Resources Gas Group jumped 7.2% after reporting a 21.8% increase in 2018 net profit.

Chinese live-streaming platform Inke rose 1.5% after announcing plans to buy back shares worth HK$100 million ($12.7 million).

Wuxi AppTec advanced 1.8% after the Chinese drugmaker reported an 84% surge in full-year profit and a 23.8% increase in revenue.

Singapore Telecommunications fell 0.7% after JP Morgan downgraded the country's telecom sector.

- By Amy Lam;; +852 3960 5150
- Edited By Suzannah Benjamin
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- Copyright (c) 2019 Nikkei NewsRise Asia Pte Ltd.