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Stocks

Tech companies lead Hong Kong stocks lower after Nasdaq slump

Insurers extend losses; casino shares pull back ahead of Macau gaming numbers

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares headed for a fourth day of losses on Thursday, led by heavyweight internet major Tencent Holdings and Apple-supplier AAC Technologies Holdings, following a sell-off in U.S. technology stocks overnight.

The Hang Seng Index had fallen 1.3% to 29,245.91 by noon, poised for its longest losing streak since June. It had declined as much as 1.6% earlier in the morning. Tencent was down 2.3% by midday on Thursday, extending the previous day's 1.8% drop, while AAC Technologies shed 4.4% after the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite suffered its worst decline in more than three months overnight, closing 1.3% lower.

Data released on Thursday showed China's factory activity picked up in November, with the official manufacturing purchasing managers' index coming in at 51.8 for this month, compared with 51.6 in October. Readings above 50 signal economic expansion.

"Although we saw the gauge trim losses in the morning on China's PMI data, rising pressure on Hong Kong interest rates, together with the correction in technology shares, are negative factors dragging on the Hang Seng Index," said Francis Lun, chief executive at GEO Securities. "But the fall is expected to be a short-term correction."

He expects the city's main gauge to end the year above 30,000 points.

Link Real Estate Investment Trust, Hang Lung Properties and Sun Hung Kai Properties dropped 1.7%, 1.4% and 1.1%, respectively, to lead an index of real-estate companies listed in the city 0.7% lower. Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rates for one- and three-month tenors are trading near their highest levels since 2008.

Still, private home prices in Hong Kong continue to hold at record highs. A gauge of private home prices compiled by the government rose to an all-time high of 342.2 in October, 0.5% higher than September, according to the Rating and Valuation Department. The index has risen for 19 consecutive months.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.3% at 3,329.09 by midday, recouping some losses after dropping as much as 0.6% earlier in the day.

Insurers in Hong Kong were among major losers on the index for a second day, with AIA Group and Ping An Insurance Group dropping 3.8% and 2.8%, respectively. Casino operators Galaxy Entertainment Group and Sands China lost 2.7% and 0.7%, respectively, ahead of the release of Macau's gaming revenue numbers for November, which are due this week or early next week.

Zall Group added 1.7% following a 3% drop on Wednesday. The Chinese property company said its controlling shareholders have agreed to sell 937 million shares in the company, reducing their stake to 57.33% from 65.40%.

Liquid crystal-display maker Yeebo (International Holdings) slid 6.3% after reporting a 79% drop in profit for the six months ended Sept. 30. Revenue for the period rose 8.7%.

L.K. Technology Holdings slid 7.7%. The mechanical manufacturing company on Wednesday reported an 80% jump in profit for the six months ended Sept. 30 and a 17% increase in revenue.

-- Carrie Chen and Amy Lam

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