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October 12, 2018

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‘Black Thursday’ as global falls hit Chinese bourses

Clouded by a big overnight crumble on Wall Street, China’s markets fell sharply yesterday — with Shanghai hitting a four-year low.

The main indexes in Shanghai and Shenzhen tumbled more than 5 percent and more than 1,000 stocks fell by the daily 10 percent limit.

The Shanghai Composite Index slumped 5.22 percent, or 142.38 points, to close at a four-year low of 2,583.46 after the biggest single day loss since February 2016, according to Wind Information, a Chinese financial services firm.

The smaller Shenzhen Component Index fell by 6.07 percent to finish at 7524.09 points, while the Nasdaq-style ChiNext enterprise board declined 6.30 percent at 1261.88.

The blue-chip CSI300 index, meanwhile, tumbled 4.8 percent to 3,124.11 points, its lowest level since July 2016.

Steven Leung, sales director at brokerage UOB Kay Hian, said the impact of the US equity sell-off and trade war concerns were weighing on stocks and would endure across Asia.

Overnight on the US stock markets, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 posted their largest drops since February, while the Nasdaq recorded its biggest single day sell-off since June 2016.

Communications equipment companies, securities brokers and domestic chip makers led the losses in China, with shares of HNA Technology, a firm engaged in the operational management, strategic investment and innovation in areas of cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence, slipped by the daily maximum limit of 10 percent to close at 3.38 yuan(49 US cents).

Analysts pointed out that the slump in the A-share market was mainly triggered by the drop in the US and Asia-Pacific markets. Credit Suisse said that the Chinese stock market is poised for a technical rebound in its latest research note.

“Unless you withdraw from stocks entirely, you’d want to go for more defensive stocks, like public utilities,” Leung said.

Shares in infrastructure firms from China’s west bucked the down trend. The shares rallied after Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the launch of the planning and construction of the Sichuan-Tibet railway.

Shares in Tibet Tianlu, principally engaged in construction and mineral exploration, jumped near 7 percent.

One Shanghai-based trader expects the market will find some support given it has been losing altitude over several months, while US stocks are falling from a high point.

“Fund managers will find certain stocks very cheap,” he said. But there are risk factors for mainland stocks as a China-US trade war continues to hurt exporters, which will in turn weigh on the major indices.

The index measuring price differences between dual-listed companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong stood at 123. A value above 100 indicates Shanghai shares are priced at a premium to shares in the same company trading in Hong Kong, and vice versa. There was net selling of mainland shares of about 3.5 billion yuan through the connect scheme linking the Hong Kong and mainland markets.


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