Hong Kong stock market finished session in the red on Monday, 28 December 2020, as positivity over a massive US Covid-19 relief bill was dampened by regulatory concerns in tech firms after China's central bank called for an overhaul at Ant Group.
At closing bell, the benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 0.27%, or 71.93 points, to 26,314.63. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index dropped 1.14%, or 119.05 points, to 10,311.48.
US President Donald Trump on Sunday signed into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package, restoring unemployment benefits to millions of Americans and averting a partial federal government shutdown.
Investors assessed the impact of Beijing's clamp down on monopolistic behaviour in the technology sector after the government recently stepped up its regulation of the country's internet and technology sectors. Chinese regulators have ordered Ant Group, the world's largest financial technology company, to rectify its businesses and comply with regulatory requirements amid increased scrutiny of anti-monopoly practices in the country's internet sector.
The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, summoned Ant executives on Saturday and ordered them to formulate a rectification plan and an implementation timetable of its business, including its credit, insurance and wealth management services, the regulators said in a statement Sunday. Earlier this month the Politburo, the Communist Party's top decision-making body, vowed to intensify its antitrust efforts and prevent disorderly capital expansion.
Alibaba Group Holding plunged 8% to HK$210, the lowest level since June 30, even after it announced it would increase its repurchasing of shares to US$10 billion from US$6 billion through to the end of 2022. Affiliates also suffered, with film studio Alibaba Pictures dropping 2.1% to HK$0.92, and Alibaba Health plummeting 13.1% to HK$20.55.
Toymaker Pop Mart plummeted 9.9% to HK$77.65, after reports that regulators would further standardise the management of blind box producers. Blind boxes, packages containing undisclosed toys, have become a craze, prompting the authorities to raise concerns that they can lead to addiction.
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