Hong Kong stocks fall on anti-trust worries, tech selloff; China slips
SHANGHAI, May 11 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks fell sharply on Tuesday, tracking an overnight tech selloff on the Wall Street, while persistent anti-monopoly fears also weighed on tech giants listed in the Asian financial hub.
The Hang Seng index .HSI dropped 2.2% to 27,982.21, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index .HSCE lost 2.4%, to 10,398.45.
Leading the retreat, the Hang Seng tech index .HSTECH slumped as much as 4.5% to a six-month low, dropping more than 30% from a record high hit on Feb 18.
Tech giants Tencent 0700.HK and Alibaba 9988.HK slipped 2.9% and 3.5%, respectively.
The retreat came after China's State Administration for Market Regulation said on Friday that it would continue to promote rectification of platform companies. nL1T2MU10W
Shares of food delivery giant Meituan 3690.HK tumbled as much as 9.8%, set for a ninth straight session of decline. nL1N2MX0DN
Analysts and traders said the tech selloff was mainly due to lingering worries over anti-monopoly regulations and a tech correction in the U.S. stock market.
Wall Street closed lower on Monday, as inflation jitters drove investors away from market-leading growth stocks in favor of cyclicals. nL1N2MX2E8
Panic selling in tech shares is triggered by fears of deepening anti-trust probes, said Zhong Long, fund manager at Chinese hedge fund manager Oriental Ze Jin.
"Impact of the anti-monopoly campaign has not yet been fully priced in... For Alibaba, the shoes have dropped. But for others, including Meituan and Tencent, it's far from over. And if you look at similar campaigns in the U.S., it's not just about fines. Sometimes it would lead to break-ups."
Zhang Chengyu, fund manager at Shiji Hongfan Asset Management Co, Beijing, echoed Zhong's views, saying China's anti-internet monopoly is trying to prevent virtual economy from exploiting real economy and to prevent polarization of wealth.
Zhang said the anti-trust campaign also aims to prevent economic lifeline from being controlled by foreign investors, which could create economic instability for the country.
Market reaction to China's latest inflation and population data was largely muted by midday break.
China's factory gate prices rose at the fastest rate in three and a half years in April, official data showed on Tuesday. nL1N2MW0LW nL1N2MY048
But most analysts didn't think it would trigger a major policy shift by the central bank.
On the mainland, the CSI300 index .CSI300 fell 0.3% to 4,978.62 at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC lost 0.3% to 3,418.89.
In Taiwan, the benchmark Taiwan SE weighted index .TWII shed 3%.
(Reporting by Luoyan Liu, Samuel Shen and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Rashmi Aich)