Hong Kong shares slip as Apple’s warning weighs on sentiment

* Hang Seng index drops 1.5% to one-week low

* Tech stocks lead falls

SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Hong Kong stocks fell on Tuesday as Apple Inc’s revenue warning due to slow production and weaker demand in virus-hit China took a toll on technology stocks.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 429.40 points, or 1.5%, at 27,530.20. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 1.4% to 10,805.15.

** The Hang Seng IT index dropped 1.8%. ** The economic fallout from the epidemic spread to U.S. technology titan Apple, which warned of iPhone shortages and lower-than-expected revenue in the first quarter.

** Manufacturing facilities in China that produce Apple’s iPhone and other electronics have begun to reopen, but they are ramping up more slowly than expected, the company said. Apple is one of the largest global firms to be affected by the virus outbreak.

** The number of new coronavirus cases in mainland China fell below 2,000 on Tuesday for the first time since January, but the virus remains far from contained, as its economic impact spreads globally with South Korea announcing an economic emergency.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 1.1%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.4%.

** The yuan was quoted at 7.0019 per U.S. dollar at 0820 GMT, 0.3% weaker than the previous close of 6.9813. ** Byd Co Ltd rose 0.3% and led H-share gainers, which made small moves.

** The biggest H-share percentage decliners were Sunac China Holdings Ltd, which was down 3.89%, and China Vanke Co Ltd, which fell 3.8%. ** On the Hang Seng, Sands China Ltd led gains with a 0.12% rise, while the biggest loser was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd, which fell 4.85%.

** The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on China’s various industries will mainly show up in February, a vice chairman of the country’s state assets regulator said on Tuesday, as containment measures disrupt production and supply chains.

** Further curbing sentiment were reports of a U.S. plan to cut Huawei off from global chip suppliers.

** Huawei’s suppliers retreated after the news, with Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation ending 6% lower.

** To tackle the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday increased a relief fund as she urged residents to accept the government’s quarantine plans for returning passengers from a cruise ship stranded in Japan. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu in Shanghai and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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