Hong Kong stocks extend losses as Ping An Insurance slides on Founder rescue plan as China markets shut for holiday

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People walk past an electronic display showing the Hang Seng Index in the Central district of Hong Kong on February 26. Photo: AFP

Hong Kong stocks fell in early trading as heavyweight financials HSBC and Ping An Insurance slumped, adding to recent losses stoked by a clampdown on Chinese technology companies.

The Hang Seng Index fell 1.5 per cent to 28,282.65 as at 10am local time. The gauge slipped 1.2 per cent last week from the highest level since March 18, as China signalled tightening oversight on internet-platform operators. Markets in mainland China are shut from Monday to Wednesday for holidays.

Ping An Insurance (Group) fell 2.4 per cent to HK$82.95. The nation’s biggest insurer said in an exchange filing late Friday that its unit Ping An Life will join a consortium with other companies and the Zhuhai municipality to rescue Founder Group.

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The insurer will inject as much as 50.8 billion yuan (US$7.84 billion) to take up a controlling stake in a new Founder Group unit, according to the filing. Founder Holdings soared 97.8 per cent to 93 HK cents after the announcement.

HSBC also dragged the benchmark lower, losing 3.3 per cent to HK$47.25.

Hong Kong’s economy saw “considerable growth” last quarter but the Covid-19 pandemic would still be a hurdle on the path to recovery, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po wrote in his official blog on Sunday.

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