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Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index drops 2% as Chinese gaming, education shares take a hit

SINGAPORE — Hong Kong stocks fell in Thursday trade, with shares in the rest of Asia-Pacific also largely declining.

Shares of Tencent and Netease in Hong Kong dropped 6.04% and 7.97% respectively in Thursday afternoon trade, after Chinese state media reported that the two were among video game firms summoned to a meeting with regulators.

Issues discussed during the meeting included requiring firms to limit the gaming time for minors, as well as to forbid any form of “account renting services” for minors. New rules were published late August banning those under 18 years old in China from playing online games for more than three hours per week.

Private education stocks also took a hit following China’s Wednesday ban on private tutors giving classes online or in unregistered venues. New Oriental Education & Technology’s stock plunged 5.67%, while smaller rival Koolearn Technology fell 4.66%.

Meanwhile, shares of China Evergrande Group in Hong Kong plunged 7.55% as uncertainty continues to surround the embattled property developer’s debt situation.

The broader Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dropped about 2%, as of its final hour of trading.

Mainland Chinese stocks close higher: the Shanghai composite advanced 0.49% to 3,693.13 while the Shenzhen component rose fractionally to 14,698.53.

China’s consumer price index rose 0.8% year-on-year in August, compared to expectations for a 1% increase in a Reuters poll. Meanwhile, the producer price index jumped 9.5% from a year ago, as compared to forecasts of a 9% rise in a Reuters poll.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 0.57% lower at 30,008.19 while the Topix index fell 0.71% to 2,064.93. South Korea’s Kospi declined 1.53% to end the trading day at 3,114.70.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.9% to close at 7,369.50.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 1.24%.

Overnight stateside, the Dow and S&P 500 fell for a third straight day, while the Nasdaq dropped for its first session in five. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 68.93 points to 35,031.07 while the S&P 500 dipped 0.13% to 4,514.07. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.57% to 15,286.64.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.684 following its climb earlier in the week from below 92.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 110 per dollar, stronger than levels around 110.4 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7368, lower than levels above $0.74 seen earlier this week.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 0.15% to $72.71 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained about 0.1% to $69.34 per barrel.

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