Hong Kong Stocks Widen Losses After China Data Disappoint

Hong Kong stocks saw their opening losses grow Monday morning after the preliminary version of HSBC's monthly Chinese manufacturing index showed its first contraction since May. The Hang Seng Index was quoted 0.8% lower, with the H-share index declining 0.9%. The banking sector recorded broad-based declines, as both international and Chinese banks suffered losses. Index heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC led losses with a 2% drop after its London-listed shares retreated 1.9% the previous day as European markets sold off on the oil's continued slide. British bank Standard Chartered PLC also gave up 1.8%, and Hong Kong-based lender Bank of East Asia Ltd. dropped 1.3%. Among mainland Chinese banks, China Merchants Bank Co. , Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of China Ltd. all lost more than 1%. Oil stocks Cnooc Ltd. and PetroChina Co. each skidded more than 2%, while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (a.k.a. Sinopec) and Kunlun Energy Co. lost 1.8% and 1.7%, respectively. However, airlines added to recent gains on falling energy prices, with China Southern Airlines Co. improving by 1.9%, Air China Ltd. advancing 1.4%, and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. rising 1%. Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index drifted 0.2% higher, though off its earlier highs.

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