Hong Kong stocks posted their worst weekly decline in three months, as the unrest roiling the city continued into its fifth straight work day, with protesters blocking roads in Central financial districts and an elderly man dying from being hit with a brick earlier.
The Hang Seng Index added less than 0.1 per cent, or 2.97 points, to 26,326.66 at the close on Friday, trimming an intraday gain of as much as 0.8 per cent. The gauge fell 4.8 per cent this week, the most for the five-day period since August.
Meanwhile, China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.6 per cent to 2,891.34, capping a loss of 2.5 per cent for the week, as pig and poultry-feeding companies sank.
The protests – which on Monday included a protester being shot and a man being set on fire – were chaotic throughout the week. Hong Kong’s justice minister Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah was attacked in London by at least 30 protesters, in an incident that injured in her arm.
President Xi Jiping made a rare comment on the upheaval, saying that bringing an end to violence and restoring order was the most urgent task for Hong Kong when he attended a meeting in Brasil.
Still, protesters gathered in Central and Causeway Bay on Friday, blocking major roads in the financial and business district.
Battered stocks enticed some traders back into the market on Friday.
“People are starting to bottom fish Hong Kong-related stocks,” Alan Li, portfolio manager at Atta Capital, said during the morning trading session. “But it is not easy for the rebound to go further, as there is still uncertainty on protest action during weekend.”
Out of the 50 stocks on the Hang Seng Index, 32 fell and 14 rose on Friday, with the rest remaining unchanged. CSPC Pharmaceutical Group and Want Want China Holdings were the worst performers, falling at least 1.3 per cent.
AAC Technologies Holdings rose 1.8 per cent to HK$51.20 after saying it will issue US dollar-denominated notes for “refinancing and development” of its business.
BeiGene soared 6.6 per cent to HK$125.20 after the biopharmaceutical company said that its lymphoma drug Brukinsa received accelerated approval by the US Food and Drug Administration.
In the mainland, the stellar run of the pig-farming stocks seemed to have run out of steam. Several theories could explain the reversal, from the release of more frozen pork into the market to demand being dented by high-flying prices and the lift of a ban on the imports of poultry from the US.
Muyuan Foodstuff tumbled 4.4 per cent to 90.78 yuan and Hunan New Wellful lost 4.2 per cent to 8 yuan. Chicken-farming companies also fell. Shandong Yisheng Livestock and Poultry Breeding sank 5.2 per cent to 29.50 yuan and Shandong Minhe Animal Husbandry retreated 5.4 per cent to 33.03 yuan.
Additional reporting by Deb Price
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