September 16, 2010 (Chinavestor) Shares of Chinese companies continued to slide in Asia on Thursday. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) fell 50.0 points or 1.9 percent on top of a 36 points or 1.4 percent slide the day before. Investors went on the defense after Premier Wen Jiabao suggested at the World Economic Forum in the city of Tianjin that stricter bank lending may have to counterbalance property price increases.
The sell-off was universal in Shanghai, stock that fell outnumbered those that advanced ten to one. Property and construction related stocks suffered the most. Baoshan Iron & Steel, the largest Chinese steel maker, tumbled 3.1 percent while Agricultural Bank of China (SHA:601288) fell below its IPO price.
The sell-off in Hong Kong was driven by Wen's comments as well as uncertainty surrounding the U.S. markets ahead of key jobs and inflation reports. Stocks that fell outnumbered those that advanced four to one among components of the 42 member Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI). But power companies surged after a Citi report suggested tariffs are going to start increasing by RMB15-25 per MWh in October. The reports was based on a meeting between the country's top economic planner and representatives of power companies. HKEx-NYSE cross listed Huaneng Power (HKG:0902) (NYSE:HNP) jumped 3.9 percent on the news. Telecoms shined as well, China Mobile (HKG:0941) and China Unicom (HKG:0762) ended the day in the black.
Index futures point to a lower opening at 8:30 on Thursday. Investors are taking defensive positions before key jobs, manufacturing and inflation reports. With no corporate news on the agenda for today, economic news are going to dominate the market on Thursday.
If Hong Kong can serve as a proxy for U.S. listed ADRs, outlook is bright for Huaneng Power International (NYSE:HNP) for the day. But a large gap up at the open is going to wipe out gains for day traders, offering little opportunity for the latecomers.
Chinese telecoms stocks rose in Hong Kong on Thursday. China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) and China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) advanced 0.1percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. Aluminum Corp. of China (NYSE:ACH), the third largest maker of the metal in the world, rose 0.2 percent and HSBC Plc. (NYSE:HBC), a Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) heavy weight, rose 0.2 percent in Asia despite a negative market sentiment.