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china shares

China’s stocks fell on September 14 after economic data released on the previous day underlined fears growth is slackening.

Growth in both fixed-asset investment, up 10.9% in August from a year ago, and factory output, at 6.1%, came in below expectations.

The Shanghai Composite index closed down 2.67% at 3,114.80, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat, up just 0.16% at 21,538.97.

The Shanghai index has lost nearly 40% since its peak in mid-June.

Shares of four of China’s largest brokerages tumbled as much as 7% following news of fines and penalties from the securities regulator for failing to conduct proper checks on clients.

The four were fined 178.5 million yuan ($28 million) and had 62.4 million yuan of profits confiscated, according to the securities filings by the companies.

Regulators have been cracking down on trading firms to stem the volatility that has rocked the markets for the past few months.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The rest of Asian shares traded mixed, despite Friday’s positive finish on Wall Street, with investors cautious in advance of the Federal Reserve meeting this week.

All eyes are on the US policy meeting, which ends with a decision on September 17 on whether to raise interest rates for the first time in almost a decade.

Economists are split on whether the long-awaited move will happen.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index finished down 1.6% to 17,965.70 points.

Japanese investors are also looking ahead to the conclusion of the Bank of Japan’s two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, where they are expected to maintain their easing program.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.6% to 5,102.30.

Shares in Oil Search reversed earlier losses to close up 0.2% after it rejected an $8 billion takeover proposal from Australia’s biggest energy company Woodside Petroleum, saying the offer was too cheap.

South Korea’s benchmark Kospi ended down 0.5% to 1,931.46.

Chinese shares have recorded their biggest one-day fall for more than eight years following a sell-off towards the end of the trading day.

The Shanghai Composite closed down 8.5% at 3,725.56 after more weak economic data raised concerns about the health of world’s second largest economy.

Profit at China’s industrial companies dropped 0.3% in June from a year ago.

That followed data on July 24 indicating that factory activity in July seen its worse performance for 15 months.

The Shanghai market’s fall was the biggest one-day loss since February 2007.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

While there was little to explain why shares were being sold at such a level, analysts said fears that China might hold off from further measures to boost the economy had contributed to concerns among investors.

The stock market has been benefitting from a series of support measures from the government and regulators after it lost a third of its value in the three weeks from mid-June.

Since late June, Chinese authorities have cut interest rates, suspended initial public offerings, eased margin-lending and pushed brokerages to buy stocks, backed by money from the central bank.

Chinese shares had recovered about 15% of their value before today’s plunge – showing some signs of stabilization.

On July 27 stocks fell across the board, including benchmark index heavyweights such as China Unicom, Bank of Communications and PetroChina.

More than 1,500 shares listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell by their daily downward limit of 10%.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed down 3.1% at 24,351.96 – its biggest loss in three weeks.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 1% to 20,350.10, while South Korea’s Kospi index finished 0.4% lower at 2,038.81.

Australian stocks bucked the downward trend, closing up 0.3% at 5,582.40.