Hong Kong shares close lower as tech giants drag

Oct 12 (Reuters) – Hong Kong shares ended lower on Tuesday, dragged by tech heavyweights after reports of Chinese President Xi Jinping scrutinizing ties between lenders and big private firms.

The Hang Seng index fell 1.4% to 24,962.59, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.7% to 8,849.17 points.

** The Hang Seng Tech Index slumped 3.2%, after having gained in the previous three sessions.

** E-commerce giant Alibaba Group plunged 3.9% after the Wall Street Journal reported Chinese President Xi Jinping is zeroing in on the ties that China’s state banks and other financial stalwarts have developed with big private-sector players.

** The high-profile fintech firm Ant Group, linked to Alibaba, is especially being monitored, the report said.

** “Market worries about industry regulation in the mainland will continue,” said Kenny Ng, a securities strategist at Everbright Sun Hung Kai. “The relatively low valuation of Hong Kong stocks limits the room for a further sharp fall in the future.”

** The healthcare sub-index, the energy sub-index and the industrial sub-index fell between 0.8% and 2.1%.

** Ping An Insurance Group lost 5.2%, the biggest intraday decliner on the Hang Seng Index.

** Bucking the trend, property firms gained 0.7% after Morgan Stanley said it expected regulators may relax their grip on the sector to help stabilise it and support the economy.

** Shares of Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group gained 4.6%, a day after the company said it aimed to start producing electric vehicles next year despite an external investment crunch. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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