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Kim's death, housing lowers stocks

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decline_9 December 19, 2011 (Chinavestor) North Korean leader Kim's death and a housing market slump hurt China stocks in Asia on Monday. The Hang Seng index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) fell 215.2 points or 1.2% while the Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) shed 6.6 points or 0.3%. Mainland Chinese stocks led the decline for the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSCEI), measuring the performance of Chinese H-shares, underperformed the broad market in Hong Kong. Industry leaders were hit the hardest for all but one component of the Xinhua 25 Index fell for the day, boding ill for its American ETF, the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI).

Air China (HKG:0753), China's flagship carrier, fell the hardest among 25 components of the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE:FXI). Investors sent resource and energy players lower as the euro weakened and the dollar firmed up. Aluminum Corp. of China (HKG:2600), China's largest aluminum maker, fell 2.9% while China Coal (HKG:1898) fell 2.4%. U.S. listed China Life Insurance (HKG:2628) dove 2.5%. Chinese insurers derive approximately 10% of their profit from investment returns, a sour spot when the market heads south. Shanghai listed A shares of Aluminum Corp. of China (SHA:601600) fell 3.4%, making it one of the worst performer among the 50 largest component of the Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001). Shanghai listed shares of China Life Insurance (SHA:601628) fell 3.1% as profit outlook worsened. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) is trading near 52 week lows with an uncertain outlook as the housing market softens. Policy makers hinted that the government is intent to keep taming housing prices despite statistics showing that prices fell in every major city in November.

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