China's major telcos in Hong Kong take a beating ahead of Trump's investment ban

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  • The deletions will take effect by the market open on Monday, meaning the stocks will no longer be part of indexes that are tracked by trillions of global investment dollars.
  • It comes less than two weeks before the scheduled inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
  • MSCI and FTSE Russell’s deletions carry more significance for the Chinese telecom companies, since the three stocks rank among the 100 largest listed in Hong Kong by market capitalization, according to Wind Information data.
  • The Hong Kong shares are also far more actively traded than those listed in the U.S.

BEIJING — Outgoing President Donald Trump’s ban on U.S. investments in some Chinese companies has hit some of the largest stocks in Hong Kong.

In an effort to comply with new clarifications on the order, stock index giants MSCI and FTSE Russell will remove the Hong Kong-listed shares of three Chinese telecommunication giants: China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

The deletions will take effect by the market open on Monday, meaning the stocks will no longer be part of indexes that are tracked by trillions of global investment dollars.

Shares of the three companies listed in Hong Kong sold off sharply Friday, bringing five-day losses to 13% for China Telecom, more than 7.5% for China Unicom and over 8% for China Mobile.

It comes less than two weeks before the scheduled inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, and financial institutions are still trying to navigate the implications of Trump’s executive order that bans Americans from owning shares of Chinese companies the White House alleges are linked to China’s military.

The New York Stock Exchange will also go ahead with removing the U.S.-traded shares of the three Chinese telecom companies before the U.S. markets open on Monday.

The delisting comes after a week of confusion in which the exchange went back and forth on its initial announcement. The latest decision to proceed with the delisting comes after the U.S. Treasury clarified the scope of the executive order. 

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MSCI and FTSE Russell’s deletions carry more significance for the Chinese telecom companies, since the three stocks rank among the 100 largest listed in Hong Kong by market capitalization, according to Wind Information data. The Hong Kong shares are also far more actively traded than those listed in the U.S.

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