June 29 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s stock benchmark fell 1% on Monday, as sharp spikes in new COVID-19 infections globally and China’s impending national security law on the city curbed risk appetite.
** The Hang Seng index closed 1.0% lower at 24,306.09. The China Enterprises Index, which tracks Hong Kong-listed China companies, also lost 1.0% to end at 9,753.25.
** The global coronavirus death toll touched half a million and confirmed cases topped 10 million as the pandemic continued to spread unabatedly, threatening nascent economic recoveries. Wall Street dropped over 2% on Friday.
** The growing pessimism forced investors to look past upbeat profit data for China’s industrial firms. Profits rose for the first time in six months in May.
** A Reuters poll showed China’s factory activity likely grew for the fourth month in June but the pace may be waning due to weak global demand and outbreak’s resurgence in Beijing.
** Investors are also circumspect ahead of an impending release of the planned national security law to be implemented by the mainland Chinese government.
** The proposed national security law has raised concerns among Hong Kong democracy activists and some foreign governments that Beijing is further eroding the extensive autonomy promised when Britain handed the territory back to China in 1997.
** Enactment of the security bill may prod Washington to take actions that could undercut Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre.
** Most sectors fell, with telecommunications and consumer stocks among the biggest losers. Technology shares rose slightly. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)