By Laura He, MarketWatch
A previous version of this report misstated the timing of the iPhone 6 debut in mainland China. The report has been corrected.
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Hong Kong stocks tumbled on Wednesday amid declines on Wall Street overnight and worries about Chinese economy triggered by Premier Li’s comments.
The Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +2.18% ended 1.9% lower, as trading resumed after the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that China’s M2, a broad measure of money supply, expanded 12.8% in August, the slowest pace in five months, as he stressed Beijing’s commitment to shift away from printing money to stimulate growth. He disclosed the figure while speaking at the World Economic Forum in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, ahead of the official data release scheduled next week.
Mainland banks suffered significant losses across the board, with China Merchants Bank Co. /zigman2/quotes/209899244/delayed HK:3968 +6.60% falling 2.8%, ICBC /zigman2/quotes/201401473/delayed HK:1398 +5.81% and China Construction Bank Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208974133/delayed HK:939 +5.45% declining 2.4%, China Citic Bank Corporation Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205809997/delayed HK:998 +2.72% losing 2.2%, Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200705246/delayed HK:1288 +6.12% down 2.2%, and Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204682472/delayed HK:3988 +3.72% off 2.1%.
Online giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 +2.22% , a top rival of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, skidded 3.3%, after Alibaba unveiled a seemingly conservative price range for its upcoming U.S. IPO and kicked off meetings with prospective investors in New York on Monday.
Another index heavyweight China Mobile Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200868736/delayed HK:941 +2.82% , the country’s largest wireless carrier, dropped 2.6%, after Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -2.09% revealed that mainland China is not among the first batch of countries to sell iPhone 6. Other Chinese mobile operators suffered even more, as China Telecom Corp. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/206668971/delayed HK:728 +5.04% gave up 3.5%, and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205091392/delayed HK:762 +3.56% pulled back 3.3%.
In other Asian markets, Japanese stocks bucked the weaker regional trend and closed higher, as the Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.51% rose 0.3%, with the yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.1800% weakening against the dollar. The dollar bought ¥106.751 yen, up from ¥106.171 the previous day. The broader Topix index /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 +0.51% advanced 0.6%.
Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.82% ended down 0.6%, and the Australian dollar /zigman2/quotes/210560947/realtime/sampled AUDUSD -0.0384% fell to 91.28 U.S. cents from 92.11 cents a day earlier.
On the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.58% finished 0.4% lower.
Markets in South Korea were closed Wednesday for a public holiday.