August 18, 2011 (Chinavestor) Both key Chinese indices fell in Asia on Thursday ahead a slew of U.S. economic data. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) fell 41.8 points or 1.6% in a wide sell-off. Only three out of the 50 largest components of the index advanced for the day. A broad sell-off hit China stocks in Hong Kong as well for the Hang Seng index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) fell 272.8 points or 1.4% for the day. Stocks that fell outnumbered those that advanced four to one among 42 components of the index. Chinese shipping lanes continued to recover but recent gainers, China Eastern Airlines (HKG:0670) and China Life Insurance (HKG:2628), fell the hardest in Hong Kong. Outlook for Chinese ETFs is dim ahead the opening bell for two reasons. For one, index futures point to a lower open and for two, their Asian listed components suffered heavy losses before the NYSE opening bell. Only four components of the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI) advanced in Asia on Thursday while the rest fell, boding ill for the ETF. Small caps did better in Asia this morning as components of the Guggenheim China Small Cap ETF (NYSE:HAO) testify. Earnings continue to move Chinese ADRs. Earnings announcements last night will move NetEase.com Inc. (NASDAQ:NTES), Sina Corp. (NASDAQ:SINA) and Qihoo 360 Technologies (NYSE:QIHU) from the NASDAQ. Back to Asia. Chinese stocks suffered a broad sell-off in Shanghai after fiscal tightening measures started to take effect. Home prices fell in Shanghai and Beijing for the first time in 2011, pressuring real estate stocks. Poly Real Estate (SHA:600048) fell 4.4%, the second most among components of the Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001). Industrial stocks fell in China as well. SAIC Motor (SHA:600104), the largest Chinese car maker, declined 3.3% while China South Locomotive (SHA:601766), China's bullet train maker, fell 3.2%. China Shenhua Energy (SHA:601088), the largst Chinese coal miner, dived 4.5% on top of yesterday's 1.4% decline.
Traders in Hong Kong went defensive in the afternoon session starting a broad sell-off. China Shenhua Energy (HKG:1088) fell the most among components of the Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) after reporting second quarter production and financial numbers. China Life Insurance (HKG:2628) gave back all of its earlier gains from the week as investors locked in profits. But Chinese shipping lanes extended their advance from Wednesday and were among the best performing components of the Hang Seng Index again.
Most components of the Xinhua 25 Index fell on Thursday, boding ill for the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI). Zijin Mining (HKG:2899), China's largest gold miner, and China Shenhua Energy (HKG:1088) were among the worst components of the index. China Life Insurance (HLG:2628) and rival Ping An Insurance (HKG:2318) weighted down on the index as well. Chinese insurers derive approximately 15% of their net income from investment related activities and when market outlook worsens, their earnings perspective dims.