Hong Kong shares drop over 1.5% as tech, casino stocks weigh

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Sept 15 (Reuters) – Hong Kong shares ended lower on Wednesday, dragged down by tech and casino gaming stocks, following reports that Beijing will step up its efforts to promote the development of a “civilized” internet.

** The Hang Seng index closed 1.8% lower at 25,033.21, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.6% at 8,936.53 points.

** Tech stocks declined after state news agency Xinhua said China will push for a more ‘civilised’ internet by strengthening oversight over the likes of news websites and online platforms.

** The Hang Seng Tech Index plunged 3.1%, with internet giants Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group , and Meituan dropping 4.1%, 2.7%, and 4.5%, respectively.

** Shares of Macau casino gaming companies listed in Hong Kong tumbled as Macau kicked off public gaming consultation ahead of casino rebidding.

** China CSI index tracking HK-listed gaming stocks slumped 23%, with constituent Sands China Ltd down 32.5%, the biggest daily decliner in the Hang Seng Index.

** China Evergrande Group dropped 5.4% to its lowest since January 2014 after Bloomberg reported that China’s major banks have been notified by the housing authority that Evergrande won’t be able to pay loan interest due Sept.20.

** Evergrande’s crisis has prompted worries of broader risks to the country’s real estate market and financial system.

** The Hang Seng Property Index went down 2.2%, with property developer Country Garden slumping 8.8% to its lowest since May 2017.The Hang Seng Finance Index declined 1.1%.

** Insurance giant AIA Group shed 3.9%, dragging the city’s benchmark down 81 points.

** The energy sub-index added 0.1% on strong oil prices. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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