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H.K. blue-chip stock index plunges 3.48% on Nasdaq fall.

HONG KONG, March 30 Kyodo

Hong Kong stocks plunged 3.48% Thursday after overnight falls in the U.S. Nasdaq stock market.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 629.22 points to end at 17,467.15 on turnover of HK$13.78 billion (US$1.77 billion).

China Telecom, the blue chip with the largest market capitalization, slumped 9.03%, pushing the index down sharply.

Other big commercial and industrial conglomerates, including Cheung Kong Holdings, Hutchison Whampoa and CITIC Pacific, all posted big declines, 1.68%, 4.38% and 5.81% respectively.

Technology-related shares also reported losses, with Cable & Wireless HKT dropping 2.63% and Pacific Century CyberWorks down 2.10%.

"The Hong Kong market was pulled down by the falls in U.S. technology stocks," said Jason Ho, sales director of BNP Prime Peregrine Securities Ltd.

"Investors were not convinced with the gains in the (H.K.)

market recently, as the turnover value had not been big," Ho said.

The Hang Seng Index jumped to record highs Monday and Tuesday following an easing of tension between China and Taiwan and the digestion of the news of a U.S. interest rate hike.

On Wednesday, investors began to sell to take profits.

Traders said Thursday's further declines show a consolidation has begun in the Hong Kong market.

They said the stock index may continue to drop for a day or two more before a rebound sets in.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Apr 3, 2000
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