* HSI -2.6 pct, H-shares -3.1 pct, China shut
* HSCE breaks below 200-day MA for the 1st time since
* BoJ radical easing triggers HK outflows
* Airlines sector slump as China bird flu fears escalate
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, April 5 Hong Kong shares tumbled to a
four-month low on Friday, led by airlines as fears of a bird flu
outbreak sparked a broad selloff, with a benchmark index
breaking below a key chart support, pointing at further losses
Traders said the losses was exacerbated by an exit of funds
from the territory following the Bank of Japan's unprecedented
aggressive monetary easing announced on Thursday, a day Hong
Kong markets were shut for a public holiday.
Mainland China stayed shut on Friday for a public holiday
and will resume trading on Monday.
At 0542 GMT, the Hang Seng Index was down 2.6 percent
at 21,747.2 points, its lowest since early December.
The China Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese
listings in Hong Kong dived 3.1 percent to 10,429.5, breaking
below its 200-day moving average, now at about 10,508.9, for the
first time since Nov. 21.
Losses in Hong Kong came as Japanese shares jumped to near
five-year highs and government bond prices rose sharply, with
the long-end of the yield curve inverting as the Tokyo Stock
Exchange twice halted trade in Japanese government bond futures.
The two Hong Kong indexes are now down 2.5 and 4.4 percent
on the week, respectively. At midday, bourse turnover was at its
heaviest in almost two weeks with short selling interest
accounting for 10.6 percent of total turnover.
"Everything is combining today to hurt the market," said
Alfred Chan, chief dealer at Cheer Pearl Investment in Hong
Kong. "The bird flu issue is at the top of people's minds now."
Chinese authorities were slaughtering birds at a poultry
market in the financial hub Shanghai as the death toll from a
new strain of bird flu mounted to six on Friday.
The strain does not appear to be transmitted from human to
human but authorities in Hong Kong raised a preliminary alert
and said they were taking precautions at the airport. Vietnam
banned imports of Chinese poultry.
Chinese airlines were among the biggest percentage losers on
the day. Air China slumped 12 percent, China Southern
Airlines dived 10 percent, while China Eastern
Airlines slid almost 8 percent.
Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways fell 4.2
percent to its lowest since September.
Chinese property stocks slumped after the 21st Century
Business Herald newspaper reported on Thursday that about 20
projects in Beijing have been banned from an online property
registration system as authorities step up efforts to tighten
restrictions on the high-end housing market.
China Resources Land slid 4.8 percent to its
lowest in almost two weeks and now down 1.2 percent on the year
after surging 69 percent in 2012.
Chinese oil majors were also hit by lower oil prices, which
were on course for their biggest weekly decline in a month.
CNOOC Ltd and PetroChina each fell 4 percent
and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec)
declined 2.9 percent.