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[HONG KONG] Hong Kong stocks entered a bear market as a rout in global equities deepened and the weakest Chinese manufacturing data since the financial crisis added to concerns about the world economy.
The Hang Seng Index sank 1.5 percent to 22,409.62 on Friday, taking its decline from an April 28 peak to 21 per cent and sending the gauge to its lowest close since May 2014. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares listed in the city lost 2 per cent, while the Hang Seng Properties Index posted a 13th daily drop, the longest stretch on record, raising concern the city's real estate market is overvalued.
Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd tumbled 3.6 per cent. Tencent Holdings Ltd fell 3.4 per cent and China Construction Bank Corp slid 2.2 per cent, giving the most impetus to the benchmark measure's decline. Lenovo Group Ltd, Kunlun Energy Co. and Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd have posted the steepest losses during the four-month slide.
"It's not pretty," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners Ltd in Wellington, New Zealand, which manages about $7.2 billion. "The whole world's looking a little bit sad at the moment.
Shares in the former British colony have been buffeted by the rout in China that destroyed some US$4 trillion in market value, the yuan's shock devaluation, plunging commodities prices and Thursday's US market dive. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 4.3 per cent on Friday to erase an 18 per cent rebound from July's market rout.
A report Friday showed a private gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly fell to the lowest level in more than six years, suggesting the world's second-largest economy will need further policy support to stem a deepening slowdown. Concern that demand is weakening has driven a commodities rout that's erased US$2 trillion from the value of mining and oil companies since the middle of last year.
''China still looks really worrying on a number of fronts," Lister said.