Hong Kong, China Shares Sink, Led By Property, Banks

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Hong Kong shares sank further from a near eight-month high on Tuesday as investors took profits from last week's strong gains after comments from top U.S. Federal Reserve officials aggravated uncertainty on the timing of its stimulus reduction.

Hong Kong shares sank further from a near eight-month high on Tuesday as investors took profits from last week's strong gains after comments from top U.S. Federal Reserve officials aggravated uncertainty on the timing of its stimulus reduction.

Mainland Chinese markets underperformed most of Asia after a report in official media reignited fears that a nation-wide property tax is back on the table, putting growth-sensitive counters on the defensive.

At 0246 GMT, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was down 1.4 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index sank 1 percent. Both had on Monday recorded their best daily gain in two weeks on their return from a four-day trading break.

The Hang Seng Index, which closed on Thursday at its highest since Feb. 4 after the Fed stunned markets by maintaining its monthly stimulus, shed 0.9 percent to 23,154.8 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong lost 1.2 percent.

"We are seeing an unwinding of strong gains from last week, particularly in the Hong Kong property sector," said Linus Yip, a strategist with First Shanghai Securities. "But with the China macro picture improving, investors should probably look to accumulate Chinese banking shares on weakness."

The Chinese banking sector was among the biggest drags on benchmark indexes in both Hong Kong and China on Tuesday. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) slipped 0.5 percent each in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The official China Securities Journal said in a front-page editorial on Tuesday that financial reforms may figure prominently at a key policy meeting in November. The report mentioned the establishment of a deposit insurance mechanism, a move seen as a precursor to a more flexible interest rate regime that could hurt net interest margins for banks.

The China property sector sank after the official China Securities Journal reported on Tuesday that the central government is organising a new round of training in October, to prepare tax officials to introduce property taxes.

China Vanke dipped 2.8 percent to a two-week low in Shenzhen, while Poly Real Estate sank 3.1 percent in Shanghai and China Resources Land shed 1.5 percent in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong property developers weakened after comments from several top Fed officials, including the influential New York Fed President William Dudley, added to uncertainty about the withdrawal of the Fed's asset-buying programme.

Sino Land shares dipped more than 2 percent on Tuesday and have now lost about 50 percent of its nearly 9 percent surge last Thursday. Henderson Land lost nearly 3 percent.

China Modern Dairy shed nearly 2 percent after it announced a joint venture with KKR & Co and Chinese private equity firm CDH Investments to invest $140 million in two large dairy farms in the mainland.

Strong sales of the new iPhone models prompted Apple Inc to issue a rosier financial forecast, lifting the shares of some of its suppliers.

Goertex climbed 3.5 percent in Shenzhen, while FIH Mobile jumped 3.4 percent in Hong Kong.

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