Hong Kong stocks fell sharply Tuesday on Wall Street's recent weakness and a Chinese government plan to tighten credit in hopes of controlling inflation.
Financial markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed Monday for a public holiday, so Tuesday gave traders their first chance to react to Friday's sell-off in the U.S.
Fading confidence in China's market may have had a bigger effect, analysts said. Shanghai's key index tanked more than 7.7 percent Tuesday after the country's central bank announced over the weekend it was raising the level of reserves banks must maintain.
The pain spread to Hong Kong's market, with the blue-chip Hang Seng Index diving 1,026.66 points, or 4.21 percent, to 23,375.52.
"The roof came crashing down today," saud Francis Lun, general manager of Fulbright Securities Ltd. "And it will keep falling."
The selling was broad and steep.
Fixed-line phone company China Netcom lost almost 9.6 percent to HK$20.8, while its soon-to-be owner, China Unicom, shed 8.3 percent to HK$13.92. China Telecom fell 5.24 percent to HK$4.7
Oil's modest decline Tuesday was little help to refiners, as Sinopec plunged 5.94 percent to HK$7.76 and PetroChina slid 5.45 percent to HK$10.4.
Financials _ mainland banks in particular _ retreated on China's inflation measure as well as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s overnight announcement of a US$2.8 billion quarterly loss. ICBC dropped 4.72 percent to HK$5.45, and China Construction Bank was down 4.93 percent to HK$6.55.
Property developers were also beaten back, as investors worried the central bank's reserve hike could mean higher costs that eat away at profits. Henderson Land dropped 4.7 percent to HK$52.20.
On the Net: