Hang Seng Index suffers significant drop as Middle-East tensions intensify

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19th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) Today witnessed a notable downturn in the Hang Seng Index, as geopolitical tensions in the Middle East exacerbated selling pressures, leading to a significant drop in the Hong Kong market. The index opened at 16,246 points, down 139 points, and faced increased selling, plummeting to a mid-day low of 16,044 points—a decrease of 341 points. By noon, the Hang Seng Index had slightly recovered to 16,156.88, marking a 1.40% decrease for the day.

This decline was mirrored in other major indices; the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell by 1.19% to 5,734 points, and the Hang Seng Tech Index suffered a 2.6% loss, closing at 3,269 points. Total transactions on the main board amounted to HK$63 billion, reflecting heightened market activity amid the uncertainty.

Tech stocks were among the hardest hit, with major companies like Tencent and Alibaba seeing declines of 0.5% and 1.9%, respectively. Meituan and JD.com also faced downturns of 3.6% and 1.4%, while Xiaomi recorded a sharp fall of 4.4%.

In the financial sector, notable decreases were observed with HSBC Holdings dropping by 2%, AIA Group by 1.4%, and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing by 2.2%. China Ping An also saw a decrease of 0.8%.

Automotive stocks were not spared from the market turmoil. BYD’s shares fell by 2.4%, with Xpeng Motors and Li Auto experiencing even steeper declines of 6.1% and 7.3%, respectively.

Conversely, energy and shipping sectors bucked the negative trend. PetroChina and CNOOC saw their stocks increase by 2.4% and 2% respectively, while Shandong Gold Mining and Zhaojin Mining enjoyed modest gains. The shipping industry, in particular, showed robust performance; Orient Overseas (International) surged by 4.8%, becoming the top-performing blue-chip of the day. Cosco Shipping Holdings and Pacific Basin Shipping also posted significant gains of 3.9% and 9.5% respectively.