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=ASIA MARKETS: Hong Kong Shares Set To Drop For Sixth Day As Yuan Weakens

HONG KONG (Aug 07) -- Hong Kong shares were poised to fall for a sixth straight day on Wednesday as investor fears over U.S.-China trade tensions and political unrest at home dovetailed with renewed weakness for the yuan.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.4% to 25,879.14 by noon. Ping An Insurance Group fell 1.2%. Ping An Healthcare and Technology, its online healthcare unit, climbed 4.9% after reporting a narrower loss in the January-to-June period following a more than doubling of its revenue for the period.

The local benchmark gauge opened higher after all three major indexes on Wall Street rose 1% or more overnight. But it quickly turned lower amid weak sentiment, while the yuan traded onshore fell 0.3% to 7.0456 against the dollar after edging higher on Tuesday.

The People’s Bank of China on Wednesday set its daily reference rate at 6.9996, weaker than Tuesday’s fix at 6.9683 and just shy of the 7 level, which has long been considered a threshold that Beijing will protect. The unit can move 2% in either direction reference rate on any given day. The Shanghai Composite Index was little changed.

The yuan is trading at its weakest levels in about a decade following a threat by U.S. President Donald Trump that Washington will impose import tariffs on more Chinese goods. The currency’s weakness prompted the U.S. to label China a currency manipulator on Monday.

Meanwhile, local investors were also on edge as monthslong anti-government protests in the city show few signs of letting up. The demonstrations, which started in June, were triggered by a call for the withdrawal of a now-suspended controversial extradition bill. The protestors are also demanding the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam. The movement has since occasionally turned violent and disrupted public transport.

“We do not see easing signs related to many unfavorable factors, and the local issues especially will have a profound impact on the market in future,” said Stanley Chik, head of research at Bright Smart Securities.

He said local political unrest was the biggest reason for him turning pessimistic on the market. “I have reduced holdings for most shares I own and unless there is a breakthrough, I don’t have the confidence to buy in,” he added.

The Hang Seng Index, which has shed 6.8% in August already, saw its 14-day relative strength index, a measure of momentum, slide below 30 last Friday. The drop is a signal to some technical analysts that the gauge maybe oversold.

Elsewhere in Asia on Wednesday, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI slipped 0.5%, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.1%.

Electric carmaker BYD fell 4.9% in Hong Kong following a 17% decline in total sales volume for July.

China Overseas Land & Investment added 1.4% after reporting a 43.8% jump in contracted sales for July.

Property developer CIFI Holdings advanced 1.1% after reporting a 14.8% increase in contracted sales for last month.

Ronshine China Holdings, which reported a 30.3% rise in first-half profit, rose 2.1%.

Truly International Holdings climbed 3.2% following a near-30% year-over-year jump in net consolidated turnover for July.

Genting Hong Kong advanced 4.3% after saying its unit will sell up to a 35% interest in Dream Cruises to Darting Investment Holdings. The deal will result in gain of about $470 million for Genting.

GCL-Poly Energy Holdings slid 3.9% after swinging to a loss of 998 million yuan for the first half of the year, following a 9.3% decline in revenue.

Mobile phone maker Coolpad Group advanced 3.8% after saying it expects to report a “significant decrease” of more than 80% in its consolidated net loss for the January-to-June period.

Steel products maker China Oriental Group declined 4.2% after saying it expects profit for the January-to-June period to decline 35% to 55% year over year.

Southeast Asia’s biggest developer CapitaLand declined 0.3% in Singapore after reporting a 4.2% year-over-year decline in second-quarter net profit mainly because of one-time transaction costs related to its acquisition of Ascendas-Singbridge.

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

© 2019 Nikkei NewsRise Asia Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
© 2019 Nikkei NewsRise Asia Pte Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.