Heng Seng Suffers from Continued Protests

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index suffered its worst drop in a week Monday amid fears among investors about how the city's massive protests could hurt the local economy.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 41.35 points, or 0.2%, to 21,616.80, as index heavyweight and robot maker Fanuc’s stock fell 1.63%.
Japanese conglomerate Hitachi fell 2.6% during trading in Tokyo. After market close, it reported a 16% drop in its operating profit for the April-to-June period.

The Japanese yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar Monday, and was trading at ¥108.6700 per dollar in the afternoon

Shares of conglomerate Softbank Group soared 3.9% after the company’s Founder and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son told the Nikkei in an interview that he expects initial public offerings of portfolio companies in its Vision Fund “almost every month” by around next year.

Son also said Monday that Softbank will invest $2 billion U.S. in Southeast Asian ride hailing giant Grab.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index subtracted 291.33 points, or 1%, to 28,106.41

Stocks for property developers, shopping mall owners and retailers all sank Monday, indicating that the demonstrations have set the the financial world on edge.

The biggest loser on the Hang Seng was Wharf Real Estate Investment, which owns major shopping malls in the city. Real estate stocks in Hong Kong have been hurt by China's economic slowdown.

But protests may also have an effect on business: One of Wharf Real Estate's malls, Times Square, is a major tourist attraction that was close to where some recent protests took place. The stock ended down 4.7%, the biggest daily percentage fall in a month and a half.

One of Hong Kong’s largest developers New World Development, sank 3.6%. Rival Hang Lung Properties dropped 2.6%.

As well, shares of life insurer AIA declined 2.02%.

In Korea, shares of chipmaker SK Hynix plunged 3.51%.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s DBS Group on Monday, ahead of the market open, posted a 17% increase in second-quarter profit, which came in at $1.6 billion ($1.2 billion U.S.) versus $1.37 billion a year earlier, beating estimates. The stock was 0.82% lower in afternoon trade.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6908 against the greenback after slipping from levels above $0.702 last week.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 subsided 4.3 points, or 0.1%, to 3,854.27

Trade talks that will kick off Tuesday in Shanghai mark the first time that top negotiators from the United States and China will meet in person since since their leaders declared a temporary truce at the G20 meeting last month.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will speak with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and other senior officials.

Meanwhile, Chinese industrial profits fell in June, according that country’s National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday. Industrial profits fell 3.1% in June from a year earlier, following a 1.1% gain in May.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index lost 36.78 points, or 1.8%, to 2,029.48

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index removed 17.37 points, or 0.5%, to 3,346.39

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index settled 6.25 points, or 0.1%, to 10,885.73

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 bucked the trend and actually gained 43.76 points, or 0.4%, to 10,851.36

In Australia, the ASX 200 regained 32.41 points, or 0.5%, to 6,825.80