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Can Hang Seng Recover From Its 6-Month Long Decline?

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China and Hong Kong equities closed the last trading day of October in the green. However, the Shanghai Composite Index as well as the Hang Seng Index witnessed significant declines in the month of October.

Huge monthly losses in one of the key components of Hang Seng Index, Tencent Holdings Limited (TCEHY - Free Report) weighed on investor sentiment. Along with a tech sell-off, the ongoing trade war between the United States and China and worries over weak Chinese economic growth weighed on the indexes.

Hang Seng Index Posted Longest Decline Since ’82

The Hong Kong-based index, Hang Seng increased 1.6% on the Oct 31. However, the index registered a monthly decline of 10.1% in October, its sharpest since January 2016. Moreover, the index has posted declines for six straight months, its longest in last 36 years. Additionally, the Shanghai Composite Index, which has remained the worst-performing equity index so far this year also fell 7.8% in October, its biggest loss since June.

The monthly decline in key indexes of China and Hong Kong came after China’s Official NBS Manufacturing PMI decreased from 50.8 in September to 50.2 in October. This report revealed the slowest expansion in manufacturing PMI since a contraction in July 2016.

Additionally, the official NBS Non-Manufacturing PMI slumped from 54.9 in September to 53.9 in October. This is the slowest expansion pace for the non-manufacturing PMI since August 2017. Factory activity in the world’s second-biggest economy slowed in October, following continued trade war tensions between the United States and China.

Tencent Weighs on Hang Seng

Tencent Holdings rose 5.9% on Oct 31 following strong performance by all the three key U.S. indexes. Despite posting an increase on the day, the Internet service portal posted a monthly decline of 17%, its worst such performance since November 2011.

Along with Tencent, other big technology companies included on the Hang Seng index, AAC Technologies Holdings Inc. (AACAY - Free Report) and Sunny Optical Technology (Group) Company Limited (SNPTF - Free Report) fell 29.6% and 29.2%, respectively, for the month of October. Out of the 50 components of the Hang Seng index, 47 including the above three tech giants posted monthly losses and weighed on the index.

Regulator to Improve Ease of Trading

Despite sluggish monthly performance, all is not lost for the indexes in Hong Kong and China after the China Securities Regulatory Commission said on Oct 30 that the regulator will focus on securing long-term investment and improve market liquidity. The commission added that it will build a level playing field for listed companies and reduce unnecessary interference in trading.

In this context, focus has shifted to the companies domiciled in Hong Kong. Some of such companies, including Xtep International Holdings Ltd. (XTEPY - Free Report) and Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (SUHJY - Free Report) have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Conclusion

Hang Seng index fell for six consecutive months in October, its longest stretch of losses in the last 36 years. Declines in tech companies like Tencent, weak Chinese PMIs and the ongoing trade war between the United States and China weighed on the index. However, regulators are making positive efforts to curtail losses in coming months.

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