Tracking losses on Wall Street overnight, Hong Kong stocks slumped Tuesday on speculation that a reduction in the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond purchases would hurt demand for emerging market assets.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index plunged 511.32 points, or 2.28 percent, to close at 21,952.38 points, after trading between 22,481.74 and 21,907.21. Turnover totaled 63.62 billion HK dollars (8.21 billion U.S. dollars).
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 310.35 points, or 3.04 percent, to close at 9,888.73.
Four major sub-indices all lost ground, with the Finance sub-index falling the most by 2.41 percent, followed by the Commerce and Industry 2.18 percent and the Properties 2.15 percent. The Utility shed 1.97 percent.
Local lenders led the declines. Banking giant HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, shed 1.46 percent to 84.65 HK dollars, while its local unit Hang Seng Bank closed 1.62 percent lower at 121.7 HK dollars. Bank of East Asia, another Hong Kong's major bank, closed down 1.44 percent to 30.8 HK dollars. Local bourse operator HKEX declined 1.67 percent to 123.6 HK dollars.
Developers also posted lackluster performance. SHK Properties was down 1.83 percent to end at 102 HK dollars. Henderson Land, another major developer in Hong Kong, retreated 2.49 percent to 46.95 HK dollars, and Cheung Kong Holding, a powerful HK-based developer controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, slid 2.02 percent to 111.7 HK dollars.
As for mainland-based financial stocks, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's largest bank by market value, dropped 2.83 percent to 5.15 HK dollars. China Construction Bank, the country's second largest lender, ended the day 2.86 percent lower at 5.78 HK dollars, while Bank of China closed down 1.21 percent at 24.55 HK dollars.
PetroChina, the country's largest oil and gas producer, slumped 3.69 percent to 8.61 HK dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.75 HK dollars)