By Laura He, MarketWatch
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks both posted solid losses on Thursday, amid investor anxiety over an “intensifying” economic slowdown in China as the nation’s premier lowered the nation’s growth target to about 7% for this year.
The Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.19% declined 1.1% to 24,193.04, the biggest daily drop in a month. The benchmark index has fallen for three days in a row.
Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.57% retreated 1%.
China set 2015’s gross domestic product growth target at about 7%, down from last year’s level of “about 7.5%”, Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday in his government work report at the opening of the annual parliamentary session. “The economic downward pressure is still intensifying,” he noted.
In Hong Kong, market movers included mainland auto-maker Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202811724/delayed HK:1114 -4.55% , tumbling 3.9%, state-owned Bank of Communications Co., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203442771/delayed HK:3328 -1.89% , skidding 2.2%, energy giants PetroChina Co. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 -1.76% and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202085942/delayed HK:386 -2.36% , both shedding 1.6%, and developer China Resources Land Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed HK:1109 -1.72% , losing 1.3%.
Hong Kong retailer dropped further, with cosmetic chain operator Bonjour Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204727288/delayed HK:653 0.00% leading losses with a 5.8% slide.
Elsewhere, other Asian markets recorded mild gains.
Japan’s Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.75% added 0.3%, and the broader Topix /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 -0.45% rose 0.4%. The yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.2025% weakened versus the greenback to ¥119.81, compared with ¥119.71 late Wednesday in New York.
Meanwhile, Sydney stocks nudged higher, as the S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -2.43% closed up less than 0.1%. Seoul’s Kospi Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.10% ended flat.