Shares in Asia fell Tuesday, causing the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to post its biggest drop in three weeks. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.9 percent, ending the day at 22,170 and China's Shanghai Composite Index closed at 3,021 – down 2.8 percent. Japan's Nikkei Index slid 1.5 percent to 10,212.
New requirements for heftier down-payments on Hong Kong's luxury homes sent shares in the territory's real estate developers plummeting. Sino Land Co. (SNLAY) nosedived 5.4 percent and Henderson Land Development Co. (HLDVF) plummeted 4.3 percent. Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (SUHJY) fell 3.4 percent and Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. (CHEUY) dropped 3 percent.
The Hong Kong government has imposed new rules, requiring a down payment of at least 40 percent on homes selling for above HK$20 million (US$2.6 million). Previously, a 30 percent down payment was necessary. According to Bloomberg, the territory sales of homes worth more than HK$10 million (US$1.3 million)nearly tripled in September. Many of these sold to Chinese Mainlanders, flush with cash from the government's $585 billion stimulus package.
This month, a record-breaking sale was made for an apartment in Hong Kong's Mid-Levels. Henderson Land reportedly sold a breathtaking 5,000 square foot flat for HK$88,000 (US$11,355) a square foot, to a non-disclosed buyer from Mainland China. Henderson Land is controlled by billionaire Lee Shau-kee, and many feel that the new restrictions won't have much effect on those like him who have piles of money to spend.
In other sectors in Hong Kong trading, oil producer Cnooc Ltd. (CEO) lost 3.4 percent and sports shoe manufacturer Anta Sports Products Ltd. (ANPDY) slid 5.4 percent after announcing the sale of shares to finance a charity.
In China, commodity-related stocks slid as raw material prices sank around the world. Oil producer PetroChina Co. (PTR) dropped 2.6 percent, Jiangxi Copper Co. (JIXAY) plunged 5.7 percent and Datong Coal Industry Co. plunged 6.1 percent.
Pharmaceutical companies posted the biggest gains in China, as the papers reported the country has had 35,664 cases of swine flu and the government increased vaccine orders. Shenzhen Neptunus Bioengineering Co. surged 9.2 percent and vaccine maker Hualan Biological Engineering Inc. gained 2.5 percent after winning a government contract for vaccines. Pharmaceutical product distributor CNTIC Trading Co. skyrocketed to its 10 percent daily limit after posting quarterly profits 53 percent higher from a year earlier.
In Japan, mining and commodity companies plunged, as the price of oil and other raw materials slumped. Pacific Metals Co Ltd. (PFMTF) plunged 6.1 percent and Toho Zinc Co Ltd. (TOZOF) dropped 5.3 percent. Nippon Mining Holdings Inc. (NMHDF) sank 3.7 percent and Nippon Steel Corp. (NISTY) slid 2.5 percent.
Toyota affiliate Jtekt Corp., which makes electronic equipment for cars, including an intelligent steering system, lost 4.4 percent today, erasing yesterdays gains of 3.4 percent just as many other companies saw their value eroded today.
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