China and Hong Kong stocks fell on Monday, led by Chinese state-owned enterprises and tech shares, as China's industrial profit slump and geopolitical tensions dented sentiment.
** China's blue-chip CSI300 Index and the Shanghai Composite Index both closed down 0.4%.
** Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index was down 1.8%, and the China Enterprises Index lost 2.2%.
** Profits at industrial firms in China declined 22.9% in the first two months of 2023 from the year before, as the factory sector struggles to claw its way out of the slump caused by COVID-related disruptions.
** A senior Communist Party official said on Saturday the foundation of China's economic recovery was not solid enough, warning of possible spillover effects from global economic problems.
** Geopolitical tensions also weighed. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday the country would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
** Shares of Chinese state-owned enterprises dropped, giving up some of this month's gains. Shares of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp lost 3.1% after the company recorded a 6.9% decline in 2022 net income. Meanwhile, PetroChina Co Ltd slid 1.1%.
** Telecommunication stocks also dropped, with China United Network Communications Ltd, China Mobile Ltd , and China Telecom Corp Ltd, down 1.8%, 3.2%, and 4.2%, respectively.
** Tech stocks traded in Hong Kong slumped 2.8%, led by Meituan. Shares of Meituan tumbled 6.3%, following its fourth-quarter earnings release. Tencent and Xiaomi lost 3.7% and 3.5%, respectively. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)