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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares skid after police fire at protesters

Property developers lead losses on Hang Seng Index

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares were leading losses in Asia by noon, as tensions in the city flared after at least one and possibly two protesters were shot and injured by police during demonstrations on Monday.

The Hang Seng Index had slumped 2.1% to 27,070.55 by noon. Forty-nine of the gauge's 50 constituents were trading lower, with local property developers accounting for the top four decliners in percentage terms. Swire Pacific and New World Development slid 4.4% each, while Sun Hung Kai Properties and Wharf Real Estate Investment declined 4.2% and 3.4%, respectively.

Apple-supplier AAC Technologies Holdings fell 4%, extending Friday's 0.5% decline after reporting a 28.6% decline in third-quarter net profit. Sunny Optical Technology Group dropped 2.5%. The smartphone components supplier on Friday reported a 42% jump in October shipment volume for handset lens sets.

Political unrest in Hong Kong intensified over the weekend and on Monday following the death of a student last week who was injured during a recent clash between police and protesters. Two protesters were shot by the police on Hong Kong island on Monday, according to media reports, as activists disrupted public transport amid calls for a strike. A government statement confirmed that one male was shot by the police on Monday.

Anti-government protests in Hong Kong, which started peacefully in June, have frequently turned violent as the police and activists have clashed repeatedly.

"People thought the situation could cool down once protests are prolonged. But we are entering a new chapter, possibly with the loss of human lives. This will become more problematic," said Thomas Fung, chief investment officer at China Rise Securities Asset Management. "If district council elections are canceled, people may start to worry about international capital leaving the city."

District council elections in the city are due to take place on Nov. 24.

Markets in the rest of Asia also traded lower, with the Nikkei Asia300 Index slipping 1.4%. In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.2%.

Yuexiu Property declined 2.8% in Hong Kong following a 45% drop in October contracted sales. ITC Properties Group slumped 13.6% after saying it expects to report a "significant" net loss for the six months ended Sept. 30, compared with a profit in the year ago period. Poly Property Group slipped 2% after reporting a 3.6% decline in contracted sales for the January-to-October period.

Mobi Development jumped 6.6% after the company said its accumulated sales revenue from 5G products during the January-to-September period surged 186% from a year ago.

--Benny Kung

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