By V. Phani Kumar, MarketWatch , Colin Ng and Puja Rajeev
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Hong Kong shares fell Thursday on concerns about Chinese policy tightening and amid a selloff in energy stocks after a decline in crude-oil prices.
Chinese shares rebounded from the previous day’s losses, with automobile stocks soaring on strong January sales, and as banks attracted buyers on hopes rate increases may improve incomes.
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Many other markets declined, however, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.29% shedding 2% to take losses into a fourth straight session.
The Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.36% slipped 0.1% in Tokyo, the Kospi fell 1.8% in Seoul and the Taiex slid 1.9% in Taipei, while the Sensex gave up 0.1% in Mumbai afternoon trading.
Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.17% futures were down 26 points in screen trade.
“Currently, the correlation between mainland Chinese markets and Hong Kong seems to be very low,” said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities. “Funds are flowing out of Asia and [the trend] seems to be accelerating …That is doing some damage in Hong Kong,” said Yip.
Leading the decline in Hong Kong, shares of Bank of East Asia /zigman2/quotes/200493903/delayed HK:23 -0.86% /zigman2/quotes/208752465/composite BKEAY +0.68% fell 3.6% and conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa /zigman2/quotes/203034716/delayed HK:13 -1.55% skidded 3.6%.
Energy-sector shares also skidded after crude-oil prices fell overnight in New York, with PetroChina Co. /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/205108732/composite PTR -0.94% falling 3% and Cnooc /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 +0.65% shedding 1.8%.
In Shanghai, meanwhile, the market rebounded after a lower opening.
Guodu Securities analyst Zhang Xiang said: “Investors remain cautious on expectations that consumer-goods prices will stay at high levels in the first half.”
Automobile shares led the gains after some companies announced strong January sales numbers and General Motors Co. /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -2.15% said Wednesday that its January sales in China rose 22% from a year earlier to a record 268,071 vehicles.
Shares of SAIC Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201442870/delayed CN:600104 -1.27% jumped by the day’s 10% limit in Shanghai, while FAW Car Co. /zigman2/quotes/200328702/delayed CN:000800 +0.09% soared 8.6% in Shenzhen.
Banks and insurance companies advanced. China Construction Bank Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732534/composite CICHY +1.72% /zigman2/quotes/208058581/delayed CN:601939 +0.86% gained 1% and China Life Insurance Co. /zigman2/quotes/204766889/delayed CN:601628 +0.89% /zigman2/quotes/206573290/composite LFC -0.24% rose 1.4%.
In Mumbai, telecommunication shares fell on fears the cost of airwaves needed for mobile services could increase.
Shares of Bharti Airtel /zigman2/quotes/204057084/delayed IN:532454 -1.68% skidded 2.1% and Idea Cellular /zigman2/quotes/209512487/delayed IN:532822 +5.68% tumbled 4.8% in afternoon trade after India’s telecommunications regulator recommended charging operators a higher one-time fee on second-generation spectrum required for mobile services.