Hong Kong, China stocks slump in fears of trade war


Stock market, share trading

SHANGHAI - China stocks fell for a fourth straight session on Monday, led by financial and energy firms, as investors dumped shares on fears of a full-blown trade war between the United States and China.

The Shanghai Composite index skidded 1.6 percent to 3,100.91 points by midday, with China&39;s blue-chip CSI300 index falling a similar amount to 3,840.97.

READ: Dollar extends losses, Trump revives trade war fears

Both indexes have now lost close to 6 percent in less than a week as tensions between Washington and Beijing escalate.

"Investors shall be very cautious for now, as the fallout from the China-US trade tensions could be worse than expected," said Yang Weixiao, an analyst with Founder Securities.

His view was echoed by Li Xunlei, an analyst with Zhongtai Securities, who said the China-US trade spat and the two countries&39; trade negotiations could last for several years.

The United States asked China in a letter last week to cut the tariff on US autos, buy more US-made semiconductors and give US firms greater access to the Chinese financial sector, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing unidentified sources.

READ: US stocks tumble on trade war fears; Dow -1.0%

Despite threats of retaliation from China, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that President Donald Trump had no intention of backing down and was not worried about a trade war.

Heavy selling was seen in financial firms, which fell 2.7 percent, even as China&39;s new central bank chief pledged a steady opening of the financial sector.

An index of energy firms tumbled 3.1 percent, led by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp after it posted a lower-than-expected 2017 profit.

Tech firms were relatively stable after coming under strong selling pressure last week, with the tech-heavy start-up board ChiNexpt up 0.4 percent by the lunch break.

Hong Kong 

In Hong Kong, the benchmark the Hang Seng Index was down 0.6 percent at 30,140.70, while Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 1.1 percent to 11,990.75.

READ: IMF chief warns &39;no winners&39; in trade wars

The sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares dipped 0.1 percent while the IT sector fell 0.5 percent.

The top gainer on Hang Seng was Hengan International Group Company Ltd up 2.4 percent, while the biggest loser was China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd which was down 4.7 percent.

China&39;s A-shares were trading at a premium of 25.27 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.